Former Irish Elite champion Carl Frampton is backing Paddy Barnes to go all the way at the Rio Olympics next August.
The current IBF super-bantamweight title holder, a silver medallist for Ireland at the 2007 IABA hosted EU Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin, told the Belfast Telegraph that he reckons his friend will have a golden opportunity at the 31st Olympiad.
Barnes, a three-time Olympian and the only Irish athlete besides Pat O’Callaghan to claim medals at successive Olympics, qualified for Rio 2016 after winning all seven of his World Series of Boxing fights last season.
Frampton, a two-time Elite champion, wrote: “For me the (Olympic) light-flyweight gold medal is there to be taken by Paddy — more so than any other boxer on the Irish team going to the Games. I believe he is the one most certain of standing on top of the podium.
“Obviously, as World champion Michael Conlan is favourite for the bantamweight gold and I hope he does it.
“But with Paddy, I’ve looked down the list of contenders and you just say, ‘he’ll beat him, beat him, beat him…. he’s head and shoulders above anyone in the light-flyweights.”
So far, Barnes, Michael Conlan, Steven Donnelly and Joe Ward has qualified for Rio.