Paddy Barnes remains on course for Rio

SportBy Sean McGoldrick
Paddy Barnes sights set on third Olympic Games
Paddy Barnes sights set on third Olympic Games

Double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes remains on course for a historic third appearance at the Games

No Irish boxer has competed in three Olympic Games but Barnes looks set to make history next year.

The Belfast light flyweight maintained his one hundred percent record in the World Boxing series when he beat Kazakhstan's Asian Temirtas Zhussupov on a unanimous decision (48-47; 49-46; 48-47) in Almaty.

The top ranked light flyweight at the end of the regular WSB season next month will qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Barnes now has four wins out of four and will have another three fights before the end of the season.

But there was heartbreak, however. for Barnes' Italia Thunder team-mate Michael Conlan who was controversially beaten on a split decision.

He lost to the AIBA's World number one ranked bantamweight Kariat Yeraliyev. One judge scored all five rounds to Conlan (50-45), but the other two marked in 49-46 and 48-47 to the Kazakh bantam.

The fight was stopped at 1:53 into the fifth and final round after Yeraliyev was unable to continue because of a cut over his left eye. However, as he was ahead on two of the judges cards the Kazakh boxer was given the fight.

But by all accounts it was a archetypical 'home town' decision.

Even though two boxers go through at the end of the regular season from the bantamweight category the fact that Conlan has now lost two of his four bouts in the series militates against his chance of qualifying early.

The only downside from Barnes' perspective was that he missed Carl Frampton's knockout performance in the Odyssey Arena. The two boxers are close friends and Barnes was best man at Frampton's wedding.

Frampton's US opponent Chris Avalos talked the talk before the fight but once the action got under way the Belfast super bantamweight bossed him in the first defence of the IBF world title.

'I wanted to teach him some manners,' said Frampton.

Mind you, no sooner had the medics removed the oxygen mask from his face that Avalos was demanding a re-match.

It's a case of dream on for Avalos as the Frampton camp have set their sights on a clash against Scott Quigg in the summer probably in the UK

The fight against Avalos was Frampton's first on ITV and his manager, Barry McGuigan is anticipating the terrestrial television channel's executives will be keen to take the all-action Frampton show to England, ITV's principal audience.