Barnes turns his attention towards World Championship goal

Belfast man and fellow Olympic hero Michael Conlan step up a weight but still prove too good for French rivals

Paddy Barnes are is raised followin his victory over Samuel Kistohurry at the National Stadium.

Paddy Barnes are is raised followin his victory over Samuel Kistohurry at the National Stadium.


A year after the Olympic Games and boxing finds itself in a familiar, cyclical lull. But yesterday there was a little resonance from the ExCel Arena as Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes were again winning large, both up a weight division following injury to Joe Ward and John Joe Nevin that forced the reshuffle.

Barnes has lost none of his Belfast bluster and the edgy patter that shapes him as forthright and opinionated. A European Championships on the horizon and a World Championships later in the year makes it a busy time for the Irish team.

Somewhere along the path between last August and now Irish boxing may have dropped the ball and missed out on the opportunity to build its profile. Barnes yesterday was direct and aggressive – and no less so outside the ring.

“They slept in big time. Before Christmas. It’s last year’s news,” said the two-time Olympic bronze medallist. For me it’s just life, the way it happened after Beijing is the same as after London. It’s a pity there aren’t bigger stages and better-run shows but that’s Irish boxing.”

A long time close friend of Belfast’s professional European Super-bantamweight champion, Carl Frampton, the light flyweight has been learning new sides to his preparation.

For breakfast
Barnes is trying to follow Frampton’s Caveman diet, which is a steak for breakfast kind of meat emphasis and few carbohydrates.

While he fought at the higher weight yesterday, he’s a light flyweight and is not permanently bulking up.

“Na, I’m on a diet now so I’m being strict with what I eat, I’m not going to binge, The Europeans are a few weeks away. It’s based on Carl’s. He tells me what he eats and I try to do the same,” he said. “But his (diet) is mad, I can’t do it. He’s so strict.”

Fighting at 52 kg yesterday against Frenchman, Samuel Kistohurry in an international friendly, Barnes normally hits the scales at 49 kg. That is his fighting weight for Minsk’s European tournament at the beginning of next month. But boxing’s arch polemicist has an alternative view on that too.

“My main target this year is the World Championships,” he chimes. “That’s the only championship I haven’t medaled at.”

The World Championships take place this year in Azerbaijan in the autumn with Barnes intention of becoming an Olympic, World and European Championship medalist.

Relentless and offensive, his point scoring speed against Kistohurry yesterday was impressive. It was little more than a good workout for the Ardoyne fighter who won the bout 22-8 and his Olympic colleague Michael Conlan, who went a few points better with a 25-8 win over Elias Friha just four weeks out from Minsk.

Over all it was a weekend of relative success for the Irish team even if the National Stadium was only thinly sprinkled with fans. Of yesterday’s eight bouts head coach Billy Walsh’s team won five, a dismayed heavyweight, Tommy McCarthy, Super heavyweight, Con Sheehan and 60 kg Sean McComb, the only losing matches on the day. The Irish team leaves for the Ukraine on May 15th and will travel to Belarus from there for the European Championships.

Today Walsh will submit his team to the IABA for their approval. Both Ward and , Nevin, are expected to be fit to travel to the pre-championships Ukrainian camp but Ray Moylette is more of a concern as he picked up a whiplash neck injury he suffered in training.