One of Belfast’s most beloved sons Paddy 'The Leprechaun' Barnes (6-3) has announced his retirement from professional boxing after fighting for a WBC world title in just his sixth bout in the paid ranks.
It follows his latest loss to Jay Harris last month.
Here, he gives a moving statement looking back on a rollercoaster that encompassed a sea of major tournament amateur medals as well as looking forward to his future.
Barnes said: “It was a really difficult decision to make because boxing has been my life since before I can even remember, but the timing is definitely right.
“The support I get is absolutely brilliant and it’s not just about now – it’s been throughout my entire career and it’s been amazing.
“I don’t know what I’ll do now but whatever it is, I’ll choose it really soon. As for coaching, I’m not sure I have the patience for it but I’ll be helping my amateur club.
“I really miss my family when I go away for camps for weeks on end but to be honest, I’m sure they’ll want me to go back to camp because I always torture them when I’m home!
“I’ll miss fighting on big, televised shows. I loved the buzz of the ring walks and just the whole event.
“I have absolutely no regrets. As a professional, I wanted to fight the best straight away and test myself. I was given every opportunity to show how good I was. I failed but that’s sport – at least I tried.
“Looking back on my career, I think my greatest achievement was winning gold at the European Championships back in 2010.”
Having made the announcement, Barnes headed straight to London to support his close friend Tyrone McKenna in tonight’s #GoldenContract quarter-finals at York Hall – live on Sky Sports in the UK in association with Matchroom Boxing and on ESPN+ in the US in association with Top Rank.
IBF Inter-Continental flyweight title contender
WBC world flyweight title contender
WBO Inter-Continental flyweight title
WBO European flyweight title
2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist
2013 European Championships light-flyweight silver medallist
2012 Olympic Games light-flyweight bronze medallist
2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist
2010 European Championships light-flyweight gold medallist
2008 Olympic Games light-flyweight bronze medallist
2008 EU Championships light-flyweight silver medallist