Paddy Barnes walks away from boxing regret free.
The Belfast fighter hung up his gloves last week and has since secured a job with the IABA as a Development Officer for Ulster.
The 32-year-old hangs up his gloves with legendary status intact and is icon for what he achieved as an amateur.
Two Olympic bronze medals from three Olympic appearances, European gold and silver wins, two Commonwealth Games golds and an EU silver all but ensure an amateur pedestal.
However, it’s the influence and role Barnes had during a period where Irish amateurs went to take part in major tournaments to traveling around the world demanding gold, that see’s him standout that bit further.
The former decorated amateur was key in a attitude shift, that the country seems to be benefiting from still.
The entertaining and straight talking fighters pro innings wasn’t successful.
Barnes shot for history in the pro ranks and it seems to have cost him. The Belfast favourite fought for a world title just his fifth fight, but was stopped by Cristofer Rosales on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s famous Windsor Park night.
The Holy Family graduate then explored his options at super bantamweight, before taking another risk against European Champion Jay Harris in October. Neither worked out and Barnes retired after nine pro fights. It’s a fast track approach that cost him, but one he doesn’t regret.
““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,” said Barnes.
Post losing to Harris on the top of a #MTKFightNight card the Ulster Hall it seemed as if the scene was set for Barnes to walk away.
His ambition and even pride wouldn’t have allowed him to step back down the ladder and he admitted he didn’t feel he had it anymore at the higher level.
However, hanging them up officially still proved hard for the respected puncher to do.
“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,” he continued before revealing the things he will miss most.
“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.”
Barnes has always been a popular figure and a well supported one and that support hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“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,” he added before reflected on his greatest achievement, fittingly an amateur one.”
“Looking back on my career, I think my greatest achievement was winning gold at the European Championships back in 2010.”