Paddy Barnes’s Olympic dream is over after he lost in a split decision in his opening Rio bout against Spain’s Samuel Carmona Heredia.
Barnes lost the opening round, with the slippery-quick Heredia taking it on two of the judges cards after looking the busier from the bell.
However the more experienced Belfast man came back into things in the second round, landing with a number of damaging combinations and taking it on a split despite some slick counter-punching from the 20-year-old Spaniard. Both boxers were willing to trade in the third knowing the contest was still wide open, and Barnes began the final three well, tagging Heredia with a couple of good right hands.
But as the final round progressed Barnes began to tire and Heredia boxed well on the front foot, earning himself a deserved split decision After his defeat Barnes blamed his defeat on the effects of making the 49kg weight, and while he ruled out retiring, he did confirm this will be his last Olympics.
“It’s so hard getting down to this weight, in the second round I had absolutely nothing left to give,” he explained.
“Midway through the first round I was dead, gone. I had no energy whatsoever. I don’t know where I got the energy from to throw as many punches as I did. That’s just the way it goes. It’s always hard to make weight, but this time because I’m training differently I was up to 58kg, to get down to 49kg. So there was questions, I was doubting whether I’d make the weight. I just made it, and I’d no energy in it.
To be honest with you I thought I was favourite for gold, I honestly believed I would come away with gold. But even if they had given me that fight, the next fight I would have got hammered again because I’d no energy.”
“This morning will be the last time I make 40kg anyway. Ever. Retire? No, I’ll just never fight 49kg again. It’s just too hard. Too draining.”