Sport

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Barnes bags first Irish gold

Published 02/08/2014 | 16:05

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Paddy Barnes, left, retained his title by beating Devendro Laishram, right

Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes retained his Commonwealth Games light-flyweight title by outpointing India's Devendro Laishram in the Hydro in Glasgow.

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Barnes produced a controlled performance from the start to claim a clear points win and add to the title he won in Delhi four years ago.

Barnes said: "That was the hardest fight of my life. I didn't really box my best because he was non-stop. But I was too strong for him.

"I remember fighting in China in front of 13,000 Chinese guys who wanted the head punched off me, but I'll tell you what that was unbelievable out there.

"The Scottish fans were great. I love fighting in places like this."

Asked about rumours he may be about to turn professional, Barnes said: "When ever some promoter pays my mortgage off."

Barnes' team-mate Michael Conlan made it two gold medals for Northern Ireland when he outpointed England's Qais Ashfaq in an entertaining bantamweight brawl.

Ashfaq made a strong start and won the first round on two of the three judges' cards but Conlan used his experience and well-picked shots to claw back into the bout.

Conlan had edged through to the final on a technical decision after his fight against Welshman Sean McGoldrick was stopped in the second round due to cuts.

But the inch-long gash just above Conlan's left eye did not reopen despite the come-forward nature of the contest, and the Northern Irishman made sure of his place on top of the podium.

Conlan admitted he was riddled with self-doubt weeks before the Games because of fitness concerns.

"I have only trained for this competition for two weeks," he said. "I was out injured and only had seven spars in total.

"To come and do a job like this is phenomenal. To pick up two injuries in the competition as well and still win, I feel very proud of myself.

"Honestly, I can't believe what I came through. Two weeks before the competition, I was doubting myself. I was sparring an Australian kid and I should have been destroying him but it was close. I felt very nervous, but as soon as I got in the village and settled, I knew no-one was beating me."

Conlan added: "I thought I won the first round but I heard I lost it so I knew I had to change my tactics and push him back a bit more. It worked for me in the end. He's a talented boxer but I knew I had the heart and drive to beat him."

Joe Fitzpatrick lost out to Motherwell's Charlie Flynn in the lightweight final.

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