Tuesday 27 September 2016

Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes coy on prospect of turning pro after Olympics

Published 02/07/2016 | 09:17

Michael Conlon and Paddy Barnes.
Michael Conlon and Paddy Barnes.

Following their final contests on Irish soil before heading to Rio, Ireland’s Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan refused to confirm whether or not they’d be entering the professional ranks when the Olympics conclude.

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Both Conlan and Barnes took part in a Test match event with the Russian team at the National Stadium last night, which featured five of the eight Irish boxers who have qualified for the forthcoming games, though all the bouts were contested as exhibitions.

The Belfast natives, each of whom won bronze medals at the London games four years ago, have been widely tipped to add to their considerable haul of accolades in Brazil.

Indeed, Conlan was crowned world and European bantamweight champion last year, while Barnes will be taking part in his fourth games having also taken bronze at light-flyweight in Beijing in 2008.

The duo have strongly intimated that, should they clinch gold this summer, then they would most likely turn professional.

However, speaking after the event, neither man was willing to shed any light on their intentions beyond the games.

“Hopefully if I go pro I’ll get a wee show here, although I don’t know if it holds enough people,” said Conlan on the prospect of fighting again at the National Stadium. (Originally published in the42.ie)

“It could be the last time I step into this ring, but I’m not emotional, it’s another ring, another arena, and I’m sure I’ll be in it again,” he said.

Barnes was equally cryptic on the matter, and only reaffirmed his determination to succeed at the Olympics.

“I couldn’t care less about those things. I don’t know if I’ll be back, I’m just focused on the job I have to do,” the 29-year-old said.

Meanwhile, Ray Moylette, the Mayo light-welterweight, can also ensure his participation in Rio at a qualifier in Venezuela, which begins on Sunday.

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