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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

Paddy Barnes is turning professional

Boxer hopes to make his pro debut in his native Belfast later this year.

Barnes: Time for a new challenge.
Barnes: Time for a new challenge.
Image: Dan Sheridan

TWO-TIME OLYMPIC medallist Paddy Barnes is quitting amateur boxing to go professional and hopes to have his first fight in Belfast before the end of the year.

“I’ve been in the amateurs too long and I want a new challenge,” Barnes said in his column for sponsors Paddy Power.

The Belfast boxer, who won bronze medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and again in London four years later, intends to step up in weight and make his debut at flyweight.

Barnes did not confirm if he is still in talks with potential promoters, or if a pro deal has already been agreed at this point.

The 29-year-old travelled to Rio this summer bidding to become the first-ever Irish athlete to win medals at three Olympics, but his campaign ended in a disappointing narrow defeat to Spain’s Samuel Carmona in his opening bout.

Afterwards, Barnes revealed that his ongoing struggles to make the 49kg cut-off for the light-flyweight division had taken their toll.

“I’ll still be disappointed with my (amateur) career, not winning a gold medal,” he said.

“That will never leave me, but bringing back the world title is something that’s just as recognisable. That will in some ways make up for it.”

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Niall Kelly

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