Olympics 2016

Paddy Barnes suffers shock defeat at Rio

Paddy Barnes after the gruelling second round of his fight
Paddy Barnes after the gruelling second round of his fight

Ireland's dreadful start to the Olympic boxing competition continued as light-flyweight favourite Paddy Barnes crashed out in his opening bout at Rio Centro.

Barnes, the two-time light-flyweight bronze medallist, dropped a split decision to Spain's Samuel Carmona in a thrilling encounter that split the ringside judges.

The 29-year-old Barnes dropped a tight first round on two cards and looked tired in the second as the slick Carmona nailed him with a series of looping left-hands.

Incredibly the judges drew him level going into the last, and at the end of an increasingly frantic third both men raised their arms in the expectation of being given the verdict.

The judges sided with the Spaniard, leaving Barnes, who was rumoured to have suffered a virus in the build-up to the Games, to contemplate his future.

"I shouldn't be fighting at that weight. It is so hard getting down to it. In the second round I had nothing left. I had absolutely nothing left to give. In the first round I was dead. I was gone," Barnes told RTE after the fight.

"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 the weight but this time to go from 58 kilo to 49 kilo - there were questions and I was doubting if I could make the weight. I just made it and I don't know how I made it."

Team Ireland captain Barnes was one of Ireland's main medal hopes in Rio and he fully believed it was a feat he would achieve.

"I was favourite for gold and I genuinely believed that I would come away with the gold medal. Even If I had won, the next fight I would have got hammered again because I have no energy. Just as well I got beaten because I would have been embarrassed next week.

"This morning will be the last time I will be 49 kilo ever. I will not be fighting at 49 kilo again, it is too hard."