Paddy Barnes: Double Olympic medallist signs deal with Marbella-based Macklin Gym

Paddy Barnes (left) and Samuel Carmona
Paddy Barnes throws a punch in his final fight as an amateur - the Olympic defeat by Samuel Carmona

Two-time Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes has signed a professional deal with the Marbella-based Macklin Gym.

Barnes, 29, announced on Friday that he had decided to switch to the professional ranks.

Matthew Macklin's MGM group revealed on Monday that it had agreed a management deal with the Northern Irishman.

"After the Olympics there was many offers on the table but being part of Team MGM was the natural choice," said the Belfast fighter.

"I honestly believe I have the ideal team to guide me to world title opportunities.

"I've enjoyed every minute of my time as an amateur and my achievements are something I am very proud of.

"Representing Ireland has always been my ambition and now I hope to emulate that success as a professional," added Barnes, who has indicated that he will move up to flyweight in the pro ranks after struggling with the light-flyweight limit during the final years of his amateur career.

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Paddy Barnes: Twice Olympic bronze medallist opts to turn professional

Barnes lost to Samuel Carmona in his opening bout at last month's Olympics in Rio and blamed weight problems for the surprise defeat.

His first professional bout could be in his native Belfast before Christmas although that has yet to be confirmed.

MGM described Barnes as "a special talent".

"We anticipate Paddy will feature prominently on the world stage and we look forward to many great nights for Irish boxing moving forward," added the MGM statement.

Barnes' fellow Belfast man, Commonwealth super-flyweight champion Jamie Conlan, is already in the MGM stable.

Conlan is the brother of Michael Conlan, who is also set to join the professional ranks following the Olympics.

In addition to his two Olympic achievements, Barnes won the European Amateur title and two Commonwealth Games gold medals.

Birmingham-born Macklin, whose parents are Irish, made three unsuccessful attempts to win the world middleweight title after winning the British and European belts.

Macklin ended his boxing career earlier this year two days short of his 34th birthday.