Irish captain Paddy Barnes bowed out of the Rio Olympics on a shock split decision to Spain’s Samuel Carmona today.
The final verdict read 29-28,29-29, 28-29 to the unheralded Madrid orthodox after a 49kg war of attrition, with the Canadian and Uzbek judges leaning toward Spain and China opting for Ireland.
The 29-year-old Belfast light-fly lost the first round on two cards, but, employing a higher guard from the start of the frame, edged the second on two cards to leave it all square and all to play for going into the last round.
Barnes, who found the target with a massive right in the third, appeared to have done enough to take that frame and the decision, but the tough 20-year-old Spaniard, who was hooking well throughout the contest, finishing strong with Barnes visibly tiring.
It was a difficult one to call for the judges. Both men, particularly in the second round, went toe-to-toe and battled it out. Neither backed off from some brutal exchanges.
Barnes’ shots were cleaner and his combinations had more fluency but anytime he was getting on top Carmona responded with big shots off both hands and impressed with uppercuts in most of the close exchanges.
Barnes, a two-time Olympic bronze medallist, signalled that his days in the light-fly division are over.
He said:“To be honest I shouldn’t even be fighting at this weight. It’s so hard to get down to it.In the second round I had nothing left, I had absolutely nothing left to give.
“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. I genuinely thought I was coming away with the gold medal.
“This morning will the last time I’ll make 49kg. It’s just too hard, added Barnes, who was brutally honest about himself in his assessment.
“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 time.”
David Oliver Joyce, who won yesterday, will be in action tomorrow versus Azeri lightweight Albert Selimov,who won AIBA World Elite gold for Russia in Chicago in 2007.
Irish Draw Rio Olympics
August 7th (last 32)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) beat Andrique Allisop (Seychelles) 3-0
69kg Steven Donnelly (Ireland) beat Zahir Kedache (Algeria) 3-0
August 8th (last 16)
49kg Paddy Barnes (Ireland) lost to Samuel Carmona (Spain) 1-2
August 9th (last 16)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) v Albert Selimov (Azerbaijan)
August 10th (last 16)
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) v Andrea Mina (Ecuador)
August 11th (last 16)
69kg Steven Donnelly (Ireland) v Tuvshinbat Byamba (Mongolia)
August 12th (last 16)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Uziel Rodriquez (Mexico) or Waheed Karawi (Iraq)
August 13th (last 32)
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) v Shakhobidin Zoirov (Uzbekistan)
August 14th (last 16)
56kg Michael Conlan (Ireland) v Aram Avagyan (Armenia) or Arashi Mariska (Japan)
August 15th (Q/Finals)
60kg Katie Taylor (Ireland) v Mira Potkonen (Finland) or Adriana Araujo (Brazil)
60kg (Lightweight) – Katie Taylor (Bray)
49kg (Light-flyweight) – Paddy Barnes (Holy Family)
52kg (Flyweight) – Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s)
56kg (Bantamweight) – Michael Conlan (Clonard)
60kg (Lightweight) – David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy & AIBA Pro Boxing)
69kg (Welterweight) – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)
75kg (Middleweight) – Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
81kg (Light-heavyweight) – Joe Ward (Moate & AIBA Pro Boxing)
Team Manager: Joe Hennigan
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, John Conlan
Physio: Julianne Ryan
Sport Psychologist: Gerry Hussey