Barnes: Broken nose won't derail my Worlds dream
A EUROPEAN silver medallist and joint No 2 in the world, Paddy Barnes is ready to conquer the world in October.
He was withdrawn from his final European Championship bout in Minsk last month after fracturing his nose and is still four weeks away from returning to sparring as a result, but the decision was taken with his health and the bigger picture in mind.
The Belfast fighter has two Olympic bronzes to his name, the European silver is secured and now he is looking to complete the set with gold in Kazakhstan.
He believes his performances in a record-breaking Irish team last month have set him up to take the next step and he didn't mind dropping out of his gold medal chance in order to go for the Worlds.
"I knew it was the right decision, my health is more important," he said at the 'Boxing in the Community' event at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, which saw youngsters from Warrington and Omagh take part in a high performance training session at the venue.
"I didn't want to do any serious damage and the Worlds are more important. I would not have been sparring until the end of August, so it won't affect me too much.
"I've never got a medal at the World Championships, it is the only medal I haven't got. That's what is getting me going.
"I feel my confidence is sky high because of my performances at the Europeans, the sparring I've been doing and the training I've gone through.
"I beat the current European champion in the semi-final with ease – if my nose hadn't been bad I think I'd have stopped him but I had to hold back. I'm on form and I'm flying."
Barnes' Olympic experience has helped him settle in these tournaments and he believes the growing stature of the Irish team means they can deliver success in Astana.
"It (the experience) lets me know what to expect when I go into these big tournaments, it can only be a good thing," he said.
"Irish boxing always sends a strong team and there is no weak links in our team, the team is all strong because they are all national champions."