Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes retires after 21 years in boxing

Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes retires after 21 years in boxing

Paddy Barnes has retired from boxing.

The Belfast native won bronze medals in the light flyweight division at the Beijing and London Olympics before carrying the Irish flag at the Rio Olympics.

He also won a gold medal at the 2010 European Championships and in the Commonwealth Games before claiming silver in 2013 at the European Championships and another Commonwealth in 2014.

He then turned professional in 2016 which saw him win the vacant vacant WBO European flyweight title against Silviu Olteanu of Romania.

After 21 years in the sport, he announced his decision on Twitter saying: "After taking some time I've came to a decision to retire. I've had a great career and achieved so much.

"I have loved every minute of boxing, it has been my life for the past 21 years. I have achieved my dream of becoming an Olympian and getting to carry the Irish flag at the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Those moments were the proudest 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 out but I wouldn't have it any other way.

"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."

He made his professional debut with a win over Stefan Slavchev in November 2016.

Barnes’ first defeat came with a knock-out loss to Cristofer Rosales at Windsor Park in August last year, and he was beaten by Oscar Mojica at Madison Square Garden in March.

Barnes had said he was considering his future after losing to Jay Harris in Belfast in October.

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