PADDY Barnes says both he and Michael Conlan sacrificed more than most to ensure Olympic qualification.
The Belfast duo secured RIO 2016 slots via the World Series of Boxing and have expressed their delight at booking a place on the plane over a year and a half out.
However, Barnes, who beat all before him while representing Italia Thunder, revealed qualification came at a cost. The two time Olympic Bronze medal winner says he had to give up his Irish National Champion status and sacrifice money to make sure of qualification.
Indeed, Barnes told Newstalk that both he and Conlan were the ONLY fighters not to be paid for their services to the WSB.
“The only thing that me and Michael did the WSB for was the Olympic spot. The sacrifice was the Irish championships because I had a good record going in it. I could have gone to eight titles in a row but I chose not to in order to try and qualify for the games. Michael Conlan and myself are the only two boxers in the entire WSB in the whole world who weren’t getting paid. We sacrificed the money in order for the Italians (Italia Thunder team) to give us a first team place,” he said.