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'It was the natural choice' - Paddy Barnes signs with Matthew Macklin's MGM team

The three-time Irish Olympian announced he was turning professional last week.

Barnes is MGM's latest addition.
Barnes is MGM's latest addition.
Image: Facebook/MacklinsGymMarbella

PADDY BARNES HAS signed his first professional management deal with Macklin’s Gym Marbella (MGM), it has been announced.

The two-time Irish Olympic medallist, who had a disappointing Rio Games as he suffered defeat in his opening bout, announced last Friday that he was quitting the amateur game.

Belfast native Barnes admitted he had struggled to make weight for the lightweight division and intends to step up to flyweight for his pro debut.

He has joined the Spanish-based MGM team — set up by former Irish and European champion Matthew Macklin, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

“MGM are delighted to announce the signing of Olympian Paddy Barnes on a management contract,” reads a statement release today.

“The signing of Paddy Barnes has everyone at MGM very excited. An impressive amateur career has produced one of Ireland’s most popular Olympians. Three appearances at the Olympic Games produced consecutive bronze medals in 2008 and 2012.

“This led to Paddy being given the honour of being Ireland’s flagbearer at the most recent Olympics in Brazil.

“Paddy’s extensive list of accolades also includes Commonwealth Gold on two occasions, Delhi 2010 and Captain of Ireland in Glasgow 2014 , WSB appearances and a host of national titles. However, now is the time to begin a new chapter in his boxing career and Paddy cannot wait to get started.”

Details of the 29-year-old’s first fight will be announced in the near future, and Barnes said:

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time as an amateur and my achievements are something I am very proud of. Representing Ireland has always been my ambition and now I hope to emulate that success as a professional.

After the Olympics there was many offers on the table but being part of Team MGM was the natural choice and one I’m delighted with. I honestly believe I have the ideal team to guide me to world title opportunities.”

MGM Management added: “Paddy is a special talent. To represent your country with such distinction is a reflection of the ability he possesses.

“We anticipate Paddy will feature prominently on the world stage and we look forward to many great nights for Irish boxing moving forward.”

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Ben Blake

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