Irish date confirmed for Paddy Barnes professional debut as MGM fighter

BoxingBy Sunday World
Paddy Barnes
Paddy Barnes

Former Olympian Paddy Barnes will make his professional boxing debut in Belfast on November 5.

Barnes will fight on a card that also features Jamie Conlan, brother of another former Irish Olympian in Mick Conlan.

The card, which will be available on BoxNation, will take place at Titanic Exhibition Centre.

Promoter Frank Warren said of the fight: "Paddy Barnes is something special.

"It will be an honour to promote his first professional outing after his illustrious amateur career and three Olympic Games, which in itself is an incredible achievement."

In September, Barnes signed for the controversial MGM gym, which was recently searched as part of an international operation against the Kinahan cartel.

The double Olympic medal winner, who captained the Irish team at Rio 2016, was unveiled by the MGM gym in Marbella - founded by retired professional Matthew Macklin.

Barnes, who has no involvement in crime, said of his signature with MGM: "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."

Paddy had many options when making the decision to turn professional but he said he believed MGM are the perfect choice.

"After the Olympics there was many offers on the table but being part of Team MGM was the natural choice and one I'm delighted with.

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

MGM Management said: "Paddy is a special talent."

The gym, which is based in Marbella, was founded by former Irish, British and European Middleweight Champion Matthew Macklin, who is not involved in crime.

Mobster Daniel Kinahan, a son of international drug trafficker Christy Kinahan, is heavily involved in the running of the gym in Marbella.

Last month, the facility was searched by Guardia Civil and and visiting gardai as part of a major international crackdown on the gang.

A source said: "The officers said they were looking for two men who used to use the gym ...They took everything, computers, paperwork, the lot."