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John Breen: Paddy Barnes can race to world title bid

By David Kelly

Deflated Paddy Barnes can rise again and make an immediate impact on the professional scene, according to top coach John Breen.

Barnes, the Irish boxing team captain, was left gutted by his shock exit at the Rio Olympics at the hands of Spaniard Samuel Carmona Heredia on Monday having admitted that he was drained at the weight.

An Olympic bronze medalist at light-flyweight in 2008 and 2012, the Belfast man's days at 49kg are over and at the age of 29 it seems increasingly likely that he will take the option of turning professional.

Coach Breen, who has trained numerous World, European and British champions, believes Barnes can expect quite a few offers to come his way from UK promoters.

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"I could see Paddy fighting for a World flyweight title within 18 months if he decides to turn professional," said Breen.

"He's obviously going to move up to flyweight or super-fly and in that division as a pro Paddy would move up the ladder very quickly.

"Usually a professional will start off with a four-rounder but with the amount of experience that Paddy has he could go straight into an eight-rounder and within a few fights he could be fighting for the British title."

“Because of his popularity and the profile he has, I would think that plenty of promoters would be very keen to sign him — he’s going to sell tickets and he’s not going to need a lot of time to build him up into a championship fighter.”

Barnes has often spoken about  turning professional if the right deal came along and at the age of 29, Breen believes there is little time left to ponder such a move.

“It’s really now or never for Paddy if he wants to make a go of it as a professional. Dave McAuley was a retired world champion at 29,” added Breen.

“I was really gutted to see the way Paddy struggled on Monday. He fought a really brave fight but it was obvious how much making the weight had taken out of him.

“He’s had an amazing amateur career, not many can compare to what he has done and a new challenge may well be just what he needs.”

Last night, Irish lightweight  David Oliver Joyce proved no match for the illusive Azeri fighter Albert Selimov at Rio 2016 on Tuesday night as the world number two triumphed via a unanimous decision in their round-of-16 bout.

Joyce accounted for Andrique Allisop of the Seychelles in his opening bout, but this represented a major step up in class for the Mullingar pugilist. Joyce made a tentative start as Selimov used his superior reach to land a number of telling blows, one of which opened the right eye of the Athy clubman.

The Azeri southpaw proved difficult to hit for Joyce as Selimov breached his opponent’s high guard with his laser-like uppercut.

The Irish campaign continues today with light-heavyweight Joe Ward, while Ballymena’s Steven Donnelly is back in action tomorrow.

Welterweight Donnelly has a very good chance of progressing against Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia in what should be an enthralling encounter.

Belfast Telegraph

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