Olympic Medal Hopeful Barnes returns to sparring

August 19 MGsports management press release

Olympic, Commonwealth and European boxing star Paddy Barnes will lead an Irish boxing team into an eight-day intensive training camp in Italy this weekend, and the light-flyweight champ can’t wait to start sparring again. Barnes, 24, was ruled out of a defence of his European title in June after sustaining a wrist injury in training.

But he was given the all-clear this week to step up preparations ahead of next month’s World Championship finals in Azerbaijan. Barnes’ coach, Gerry Storey, said:

“Paddy has been chomping at the bit for the past few weeks to begin sparring again – it’s a part of training he most enjoys. But we have had to monitor his recovery and the Irish team’s medical advisors say he is good to go with regards going to the next level in training.

“His fitness is good but it will be better after a week in training in Italy; I am confident he will be in great shape for the world championships in Azerbaijan.”

Barnes, who won a Commonwealth Gold medal along with his European Gold in 2010, said:

“I have felt ready for a few weeks and I am dead keen to hit the bags and get some serious sparring. We are going to be sparring with guys from Italy, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, so it will be quality sparring and that’s what I want and need at this time.

“I feel strong and in good shape but I will be stronger and fitter before the world championships.”

Next month’s championships will also act as Barnes’ first major qualifier for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Barnes defeated Azerbaijan’s Elvin Mamishzade 4-1 to win his European Gold in Moscow last year.

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