Barnes robbed of shot at gold

Paddy Barnes was fortunate he was qualified for the Olympics before facing Turkish light flyweight Ferhat Pehlivan in yesterday’s semi-final in Trabzon because he was beaten in a result that will rank right up there with the big hometown decisions — although not as bad as the Joe Ward fiasco which cost him his place in London 2012.

The Olympic bronze medallist threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Pehlivan but it was the Turk who got the scores. In fact it appeared all the Turk had to do was wave his hand, the crowd would cheer he would get a point.

Pehlivan won the first round 6-4 the second 9-5 for a 15-9 lead — the Algerian judge scored it 10-3.

Even when Barnes rocked him with a vicious right to the head in the third and turned to the judges he failed to get recognition. The Turk still won the round 6-5 for a 21-14 victory.

“I wasn’t happy at all with the decision,” Barnes said. “I hammered him — like it wasn’t even as if it was close — I hammered him.

“It was my first big performance in these championships and I’m happy with that. That’s me at 50% I think and I’m very, very happy with the performance, over the moon with it. I’m just glad I fought that way. It gave me confidence because now I know I’m back on the right road.

“I came here to qualify and I’ve three fights under my belt too. That’s all good for me so it is. His ma and da knew I won that fight. The whole crowd knew I won it.”

Coach Billy Walsh was thanking his lucky stars Barnes had already qualified.

“At this stage, even though you are happy to have qualified, you still want to go to the final — Paddy wants to win gold medals,” he said.

“Everybody, every country can see what’s happening out here — England suffered a bit today as well and their guy did not qualify — but we were in the happy position that we had qualified before we went into this fight.”

Tommy McCarthy saw his Olympic dream shattered on the wrong side of a 15-12 decision that went to the Moldovan heavyweight, Vladimir Cheles.

“I’m just devastated,” McCarthy said. “It’s the Olympic dream finished. Four years is a long time. But I can’t make any excuses. He did the job on the day and I didn’t. That’s what matters.

“I came here to qualify for the Olympics and I did not achieve that. I am disappointed.”

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