Two-time Irish Olympic medalist Paddy Barnes has announced his retirement from boxing after 21 years in the sport.

Barnes enjoyed huge success in the amateur ranks winning bronze medals in the light flyweight division at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games and he carried the Irish flag at the opening ceremony in Rio 2016.

The Belfast fighter also claimed a gold medal at the 2010 European Championships and silver in 2013 along with Commonwealth gold in 2010 and 2014.

Barnes made the switch to the professional ranks in 2016 and enjoyed some initial success, beating Bulgaria's Stefan Slavchev via disqualification in his first fight before going to win the vacant vacant WBO European flyweight title against Silviu Olteanu of Romania.

However the 32-year-old was unable to make the step up to the world title scene, losing to Cristofer Rosales via knock-out when he fought for the WBC flyweight title at Windsor Park in 2018.

Barnes' last fight came in October when he was well beaten by Welshman Jay Harris for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental flyweight title.

He announced his decision to retire via twitter where he wrote: "After taking some time I've came to a decision to retire. I've had a great career and achieved so much.

"I have loved every minute of boxing, it has been my life for the past 21 years. I have achieved my dream of becoming an Olympian and getting to carry the Irish flag at the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Those moments were the proudest of my career.

"Professional boxing was never a dream of mine but I tried and threw myself into the deep end straight away. It didn't work out but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

"I'd like to thank my family for supporting me throughout my entire career, my wife Mari for keeping my feet firmly on the ground and helping me towards my goals.

"I want to thank my parents Jimmy Linden, Gerry Storey, Seamy McCann and everyone at the Holy Family boxing club. 

"Also the HP coaches John Conlan, Zauri Antia, Billy Walsh and Eddie Bolger. I would also like to thank my professional coach Danny Vaughan who has been great to me."