Paddy Barnes looks set to turn professional

Paddy Barnes
Paddy Barnes

Paddy Barnes has announced he will turn professional in the coming weeks.

The Belfast man will fight at flyweight after struggling at light-flyweight in the Rio Olympics, where he lost to Samuel Carmona in his opening bout of what was a disappointing Games for the Ireland boxing team.

Barnes said: “It’s time to go professional. I’ve been in the amateurs too long and I want a new challenge,” said the 29-year-old.

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

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

“I’ll still be disappointed with my (amateur) career, not winning a gold medal.

“That will never leave me, but bringing back the world title is something that’s just as recognisable. That will in some ways make up for it.”

“I obviously want to win a world title, but the fight that I really want is the guy from China - Zou Shiming.

“He’s the big money fight and he’s the one who I’ll be targeting. I want to win the world title, go to China and defend it against him.”

It seems Barnes is set to sign a professional contract with a well-known stable in England next week.