Boxing | Paddy Barnes announces his retirement

Paddy Barnes has announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 32, bringing his decorated 21-year career to an end.

The two-time Olympic medalist has decided to hang up his gloves following last month’s defeat to Jay Harris in Belfast.

Belfast boxer Barnes, who won bronze in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, enjoyed a hugely successful amateur career.

In 2010, he won gold at the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships, before winning silver in the European Championships in 2013 and another gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Barnes turned professional in 2016, but has suffered defeat in three of his nine pro bouts.

“After taking some time I’ve come to a decision to retire,” Barnes wrote on Twitter.

“I’ve had a great career and achieved so much. I have loved every minute of boxing, it has been my life for the last 21 years.

“I achieved my dream of becoming an Olympian and getting to carry the Irish flag at the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Those were the proudest moments of my career.

“Professional boxing was never a dream of mine but I tried and threw myself into the deep end straight away. It didn’t work about but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The 32-year-old made a winning start to life in the professional ranks, beating Bulgaria’s Stefan Slavchev via disqualification on his pro debut in Belfast.

Barnes then claimed a points decision against Adrian Dimas Garzon at Waterfront Hall before winning the vacant WBO European flyweight title with a majority decision victory over Silviu Olteanu of Romania.

Wins against Juan Hinostroza and Eliecer Quezada followed, before Barnes was knocked out by Cristofer Rosales in a world title fight in Belfast last year.

Barnes suffered another defeat to Oscar Mojica at Madison Square Garden in March, before bouncing back with a points win over Joel Sanchez at Falls Park in August.

However, the Belfast native fell short against Harris at Ulster Hall last month in his battle for the vacant International Boxing Federation Inter-Continental Fly Title, and has now decided to retire.

Barnes has thanked all those who helped him during his career.

“I’d like to thank my family for supporting me throughout my entire career, my wife Mari for keeping my feet firmly on the ground and helping me towards my goals. I want to thank my parents, Jimmy Linden, Gerry Storey, Seamy McCann and everyone at the Holy Family boxing club.

“Also the HP coaches John Conlan, Zauri Antia, Billy Walsh and Eddie Bolger. I would also like to thank my professional coach Danny Vaughan who has been great to me.

“I would like to thank MTK for giving me the support and opportunities throughout my professional career. I am forever grateful, especially for my world title fight.

“I would also like to thank my sponsors Fonacab and 32 Red who helped me immensely throughout my pro career.

“And lastly, to the fans that supported me, you all made it worthwhile.

“Thank you,

“The Leprechaun.”