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PADDY Barnes has never been one for settling for second best

Paddy eyes elusive World Championship victory

By Staff Reporter

PADDY Barnes has never been one for settling for second best and yet again, the Ireland team captain is striving for perfection as he aims to secure the medal that has so far eluded him.

A World Championships medal would complete the set for Barnes whose name is already engraved into the annals of Irish sporting history as first Irish boxer to win medals at consecutive Olympics, but the straight-talking light-flyweight is determined to set a certain record straight.

“Any sportsperson who trains is always targeting first place or a gold medal. Otherwise, why would they bother training?” he asked.

“In saying that, the World medal is one I don’t have. It has always eluded me so this time hopefully I can do it right.”

Barnes missed out on his last quest for World Championships glory in 2011 when he lost out in his opening bout to the Philippines’ Mark Barriga, but that shock result came amid some mitigating circumstances.

“That was my second fight that whole year,” explains the current world number three who had just recovered from a lengthy spell out with a hand injury at the time.

“I boxed in that year’s Seniors final against Evan Metcalfe and then went to the World Championships. I had been out of the ring for so long between, it took its toll.”

Barnes is hoping that injury doesn’t come back to bite once again. Having been forced to withdraw from the European Championships final back in May due to a reccurance of a broken nose sustained at the Usti nad Labem Grand Prix in March, the Holy Family man is hopeful he can come through this competition unscathed.

“I have been sparring away and there have been no problems with it [his nose] so it’s all good,” he added.

“My nose is 100 per cent, so even without the headguards, if I get a whack on it or a head-butt, it’s going to break anyway.”

The removal of headguards isn’t the only change in amateur boxing this year. At the European Championships, a new professional-style scoring system was introduced but Barnes feels this suits him.

He also believes that had his old nemesis, Zou Shiming (now professional) been competing in Almaty, then the new system as-well-as his own improvements would have proved too much for the two-time Olympic gold medallist.

“To be honest, I think with this new scoring system, it will benefit me,” he predicts.

“If you look back at my fights over the last few years, had that been in play, I would never have lost a fight.

“In London, I would have got the decision (over Zou Shiming). He is aging and getting slower so I don’t think he could last the pace with me if I fought him again.

“It’s a year on and the way I’m training now, doing proper strength and conditioning with my coach, Ryan Whitley in SINI (Sports Institute NI), had it been last year then I would have had the gold medal in London.”

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