22 August 2008 – by Mark Doyle
There was to be no revenge for Paddy Barnes over Shiming Zou in Beijing on Friday, with the Belfast light-flyweight suffering a comprehensive 15-0 defeat at the lightning quick hands of the reigning World Champion.
Zou, of course, had beaten Barnes in Chicago last year but the hope was that the ever-improving Irishman might be able to reverse the result on the biggest stage of all.
However, Zou boxed flawlessly in front of his compatriots, justifying his status as the favourite to win gold with the most commanding of victories.
He had only ended a frenetic first round two points to the good and even such a slender lead had appeared fortuitous. Indeed, Barnes looked to have landed cleanly on the home favourite at the end of the round but the point went to Zou, even though it was the Chinese who had appeared temporarily jolted after a fiery exchange.
However, there was no doubting Zou’s dominance of the next three rounds.
He was particularly brilliant in the second, racking up six unanswered points as he effectively put the bout beyond Barnes.
The Holy Family fighter kept coming, of course, and was clearly denied a few more scores. However, he simply could not cope with Zou’s fast hands and elasticity of movement. Indeed, Zou was simply unhittable at times and he eventually coasted to victory.
Barnes was bitterly disappointed by his exit, and particularly the judges’ failure to reward any of his good work, but one imagines that the enormity of his achievement in securing a bronze medal will soon dawn on him – and he should take pride in it.