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Paddy Barnes endorses Michael Conlan for further Olympic glory

Paddy Barnes has predicted Michael Conlan to win gold at the Rio Olympics next year and believes Carl Frampton will become the dominant force in the super-bantamweight division in the professional ranks.

Barnes is close friends with both boxers, but that does not colour his opinion.

He calls it how he sees it. Always has, always will.

It's clear, though, the respect he has for his boxing brothers, Conlan and Frampton.

Conlan (pictured below) will join Barnes in the Ireland team bound for Brazil in 2016 and the elder of the two has confidence that the younger Olympic bronze medallist from London 2012 will upgrade in Rio.

"Not only is Michael one of the best boxers in Ireland he is one of the best boxers in the world," says Barnes.

"I would say in the Irish team he is the most skilful boxer and he has a great, great chance to win a gold medal in 2016.

"What sets him apart is that he is always fit and he can fight in so many different ways, either southpaw or orthodox.

"The 2016 Olympics can be his time. In Rio he will be another year older, wiser and stronger and he will have improved even more. And the thing is I don't think he needs to improve that much.

"I know Mick wants to turn pro in the future, so maybe after the Olympics you could see him do that."

Frampton is already rated as one of the top professional boxers on the planet. Barnes was best man at Carl's wedding to Christine in 2013 and has savoured seeing his mate go from contender to champion of the world since then.

Following Frampton's successful title defence against Chris Avalos in February at the Odyssey Arena, there has been much talk about a domestic showdown with England's Scott Quigg.

If it ever goes ahead, Barnes is sure who will be victorious.

"Carl would beat Quigg, I've no doubt about that. I would back him to beat anyone who was put in front of him. He's different class and works so hard at his game," said Barnes.

"He could go on to dominate his division. People talk about Leo Santa Cruz being a big test for Carl but Frampton would hammer him. Even Quigg would beat him!"

Frampton, managed by boxing great Barry McGuigan, is currently at a London training camp and hopes to announce his next fight in the near future.

Belfast Telegraph


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