Saturday 18 November 2017

Paddy Barnes confirms he is moving to the professional ranks and admits: 'I hated Rio. The village was terrible'

Paddy Barnes
Paddy Barnes
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Paddy Barnes has confirmed he is turning professional as he "seeks a new challenge" in his illustrious career.

The two-time Olympic bronze medallist, who was surprisingly knocked out in his first bout at the Rio Olympics, confirmed his move to betting giant Paddy Power.

Barnes also revealed that he hated the Rio Olympics, gave out about the standard of the Olympic Village and said that the athletes were so bored that the alleged ticket touting scandal "entertained" them.

“Now it’s time to go pro, I’ve been in the amateurs too long and I want a new challenge,” said Barnes in quotes reported on Paddy Power's website.

“The experience was brilliant, but after a few Olympics I know what it’s like.”

Barnes also revealed that his pro debut will be in his native Belfast sometime before Christmas.

“My debut will possibly be before Christmas in Belfast. It’s my home city so it would be great to begin my career there,” said Barnes.

“I’m going to start off at a flyweight, hopefully move through the weights and probably end up bantamweight at the end of my career."

Barnes added that he is eying up a fight with Zou Shiming, the Chinese fighter who defeated the Irishman in both the Beijing and London Games.

Barnes was very vocal with his opinions following the scandals that rocked the Rio Games and he has admitted that the whole experience, not just what happened within the boxing team, left a bad impression.

“I hated Rio, the village was terrible. Beijing was amazing, London was amazing – but the Olympic village wasn’t even finished,” added Barnes. “It was flooded half the time, it just wasn’t nice."

Barnes also admitted that the ticket touting scandal did not effect any of the athletes but in fact added a bit of "entertainment" in an otherwise "boring" Olympic Village.

“It didn’t affect the 80 or so athletes because, bar a few of them, we didn’t even know who Pat Hickey was,” exclaimed the boxer.

“The village was that boring, we were actually glad to see something like this because it give us a bit of entertainment.”

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