Ireland's Paddy Barnes lost to Zou Shiming of China on countback after a hugely entertaining light flyweight semi-final in London this afternoon.

Barnes, fighting in blue against the man he lost to at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, came forward from the very start and attacked throughout, while Zou was keen to stay clear of trouble.

Barnes caught his opponent with a couple of lefts early on and clearly left him in no doubt he was in a real fight.

Zou, dancing and weaving, didn’t want the Belfast man close in to him and was happy picking off punches from distance, and having some success too.

Barnes kept coming forward though and scored with a couple of body shots before taking a huge left to the head.

He soaked that up though and a fast and furious round one ended with Zou leading 8-5.

Round two continued in the same vein as the first with Barnes relentless, not letting Zou settle, but the Chinese fighter had the footwork to evade him and the punches to score.

Barnes would not be deterred and was scoring himself, landing one particularly nice right on the chin.

Barnes then landed a lovely right to the body, but Smiming caught him with a right hook in return and the round finished 3-3 to see Shiming 11-8 ahead overall.

“I tried hard to pin him down. He has so much ring confidence, that why he is the champion” - Paddy Barnes

Shiming was understandably even more determined to stay clear of trouble in the last round and Barnes had a job catching him.

He kept coming forward and caught Shiming with a series of rights and lefts and had his man in real trouble.

Shiming was now caught up in a brawl he didn’t want and Barnes landed further scores and by the end the bout was tied 15-15.

However, unfortunately for Barnes, Zou took the verdict on a countback and Barnes leaves with a bronze medal.

Barnes was magnanimous in defeat afterwards: “The more skilful boxer won,” he said.

The bronze medallist said he thought he might have shaded the second and third round.

“I thought that in the second and third I done well. But listen, countback against the Olympic champion. I just wish him well in the next fight,” he said.