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Mature Barnes is always changing, always growing, ahead of third Olympics

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Madonna has famously reinvented herself numerous times as the music world has changed over the past four decades.

Much like the Queen of Pop, the King of Irish Boxing Paddy Barnes has continued to adapt and develop as he advances in years.

Barnes was in action at the National Stadium on Friday, and got a good run-out against Russian WSB fighter Vadim Kudryakov, hurting him badly in the third round.

Afterward Barnes spoke to and explained why his power seems to be so much greater than others at the weight, telling how “I just train differently than everyone else.”

“I work a lot on my strength which helps me to punch harder.”

“I seen that he was hurt in the third round but there was no need for me to go in for the kill.”

A mainstay on the Irish fighting scene for nearly a decade, Barnes has many strings to his boxing bow. A near-complete fighter, the Belfast light flyweight credits his longevity to how “my style has almost changed every year, I adapt it to suit the current scoring systems that are changed regularly.”

Now 29, Barnes is one of the elder statesmen of the Irish team and will fulfill the role of team captain and flag-bearer in Rio. The Holy Family GG fighter is revelling in the responsibility and admits that while “I can be a messer at times, I know when I have to be serious. and leading the team out and carrying the flag is a huge honour and not something to mess around at.”

While slightly ceremonial, being captain brings its own responsibilities too.

“We have our own private team meetings. but it’s not something like you’d see on Any Given Sunday – if anything it’s just a honour to captain the team,” Barnes explains.

However, he also knows that “I’m the most experienced boxer going and everyone on the team knows they can talk to me about anything.”

“…well almost!”

Top of his game and top of the division, the Ulster man goes into the Games full of confidence. As he has said many times, the only man who can beat Paddy Barnes is Paddy Barnes himself, and he isn’t too worried about his potential opposition in Brazil, revealing that “I couldn’t really tell you who has qualified at my weight bar a few – because I honestly don’t even care.”

“But I know one thing for sure, everyone my weight knows that I’m there.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish).

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: