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Paddy Barnes has praised the work of the Irish Sports Council ahead of his appearance at the London 2012 Olympics

Updated: Tuesday, 10 Jul 2012 20:12 | Comments

Paddy Barnes is unconcerned by his omission from the AIBA's top-33 ranking table in the light-flyweight division
Paddy Barnes is unconcerned by his omission from the AIBA's top-33 ranking table in the light-flyweight division

By Tadhg Peavoy

Irish light-flyweight Paddy Barnes has praised the Irish Sports Council ahead of his second Olympics in London this summer.

“Without the Irish Sports Council there’s no way that myself or any other athlete on this team could train the way we do. We’re all professionals here,” said the Belfast boxer.

“We train four days a week in Dublin, away from our families at all times. Without the Irish Sports Council I couldn’t be where I am right now, because I have a mortgage to pay, I have a car to pay, I have insurance to pay, I have all sorts of bills to pay.

“For me, to find that money I’d need a full-time job. But with the Sports Council backing me 100% that’s all looked after.”

The Holy Family ABC boxer also feels that his previous Olympic experience, when he won bronze at Beijing 2008, will help him this time out.

He said: “Before Beijing I didn’t know what to expect. I’m four years more experienced. I’ve met all the top boxers before. I know their styles, I know them all inside out.

“The last couple of times I’ve been on, you think the European Championships in Moscow – great history there. The Commonwealth Games for Northern Ireland – great history there.

“These Olympics I can create my own bit of history. Becoming the first Irish boxer to win medals at two Olympics.”

“These Olympics I can create my own bit of history. Becoming the first Irish boxer to win medals at two Olympics.”

Barnes also shrugged off suggestions that he has been unsettled by his unexplained drop in the AIBA world rankings from sixth in the light-flyweight division to outside the world's top 33.

“I have my own rankings in the house. I’m number one on that so I am. I know who’s the best. The world number one in my weight is not even the world champion,” said the 25-year-old.

“You can be number one for the last ten years and still never win an Olympics. The last Olympics the world champion was beaten in the first fight.

“You can be number one for the last ten years and still never win an Olympics. The last Olympics the world champion was beaten in the first fight."

“The Olympic Games is a competition were anybody can win.

“The only ranking that’s going to matter is next month.”

Barnes also revealed that he still gets pre-fight nerves, just as he did when he was a younger boxer.

“Every fight, no matter who I’m fighting, I still get really, really nervous. I walk into the ring and think, ‘What am I doing here?," said the 2010 European Championship and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

“It’s just something you have to get over. Once that bell goes and you’re in the ring, they all sort of fade away.

“I know all the boys get nervous, and I pretend I’m not, but really I am. I never show it to my opponents, I try to intimidate them.

"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, it depends on who I’m fighting.”

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USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
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Ireland 1 1 3 5
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