Barnes on track for Olympic gold

Published Friday, 27 July 2012
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Belfast's Olympic boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon have been given byes in the first round stage of the Games in London.

Barnes on track for Olympic gold
Paddy Barnes said he is confident he'll take home gold. (© Pacemaker)

Light-flyweight Barnes, who won a bronze medal in 2008, is through to the last 16 and is now just two wins from a medal.

The 25-year-old boxer told UTV he will enjoy the benefits of competing close to home.

"It's great it's only an hour flight away and hopefully a lot of people can come over and watch me. Beijing was a bit hard but being so close to home hopefully I will have a big following.

"My phone bill isn't going to be sky high, it will be a bit of a comfort."

He performed well on Friday and was confident about his chances to make it to the top

"I've fought the best in the world and I've beaten most of them too and I think going into the Olympics I've a realistic chance at gold," he added.

Barnes lost to Mark Barriga of the Philippines at the World Amateur Championships in Azerbaijan last year and so had to qualify in Turkey for the Olympic Games in April.

The top boxer in Barnes's 46-49kg weight division is Shin Jong-Hun of South Korea, who won silver in Azerbaijan.

Conlon is making his debut at the Olympics and he will start his challenge against Ghanian Duke Micah or Jason Lavigilante of Mauritius.

There is also a first-round bye for Irish gold medal hope Katie Taylor.

© UTV News
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