Paddy Barnes on his amateur and professional career
Paddy Barnes had a glittering amateur career, competing at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London respectively, winning bronze at both games. As well as the Olympics, Barnes competed in the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth games where he took home Gold on both occasions.
Barnes, who only started boxing as his friends and cousins did it, decided to box at his third Olympics in 2016 which were held in Rio De Janiero. Barnes was chosen as the flag bearer for Ireland and went onto reach the round of 16, where he lost out to Samuel Carmona.
Having fought at the Olympic and Commonwealth games, Barnes’ profile was on the rise as he had the exposure of fighting on terrestrial television. Following the 2016 games in Rio, Barnes turned professional stating that “I knew before the 2016 Olympic games. I had a chat with MTK (Mack The Knife Global) and regardless of what happened at the games I was signing with them”.
‘The Leprechaun’ which Barnes is known as in the ring, has known MTK Global founder Matthew Macklin for a long time with Barnes saying “he (Matthew Macklin) approached me and the rest is history”.
Since turning pro Barnes has had 3 fights and has a 100% winning record. In just his third bout, he picked up the WBO European Flyweight title beating Silvio Olteanu via majority decision. With some saying that Barnes is progressing quickly through the ranks winning a European title in just his third outing, the unbeaten Irish fighter said, “I asked to be in hard fights I don’t need journeymen, as I’ve a lot of WSB experience”.
One man that is on Barnes radar in the pro ranks is Chinese sensation Zou Shiming. Barnes faced Shiming twice in his amateur days, losing on both occasions and when asked if he wants to avenge his defeats he said “100%, world title or not he is the big money fight. He’s the most watched fighter in the world, only because china is so big and he’s their superstar”.
Barnes’ first three fights have been in front of his beloved home crowd in Belfast, fighting at the Waterfront Hall twice and the Titanic Exhibition Centre. With his next bout on 6th October in Edinburgh, Barnes said “I’m just so lucky that I could fight in Belfast as we had BoxNation always wanting to come over”.
Despite still being in the early part of his pro career, Barnes has found the transition fairly straight forward as he is unbeaten. When asked how the amateur and the pro ranks differ he responded, “Training is longer as is the fights, something which I prefer”.
Although Barnes had such terrific amateur pedigree and has started life as a pro so well, he believes that “to be a great fighter you must never stay the same, you constantly need to keep learning”. This mind set and attitude will ultimately help Barnes to achieve all his goals in his pro boxing career and when asked when his career is over how he wants to be remembered, he responded “One of Irelands best”.
Everybody at the ‘Boxing Reporter’ wishes Paddy Barnes all the very best in his professional boxing career, and hopes to see him one day become world champion.
By Nick Pratt
*Featured image courtesy of belfastlive.co.uk*