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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Boxer Barnes signs for Spanish gym linked to Daniel Kinahan

Paddy Barnes: gym deal
Paddy Barnes: gym deal

Irish Olympian Paddy Barnes has signed his first professional contract with a gym that has links to Daniel Kinahan.

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

MGM said they were delighted to confirm that the 29-year-old, who announced that he was turning professional last week, was signed on a management contract.

The gym was recently raided as part of an operation by Spanish police investigating the murder of Gary Hutch (33) last year.

As part of the operation a significant amount of cash, documents and a handgun were seized in one premises, while a €200,000 Bentley and a yacht were also recovered.

Dubliner James Quinn (34) was arrested in relation to the operation and is currently facing charges before a Spanish court for the murder of Hutch.

In a statement, MGM said: "The signing of Paddy Barnes has everyone at MGM very excited.

"An impressive amateur career has produced one of Ireland's most popular Olympians. Three appearances at the Olympic Games produced consecutive bronze medals in 2008 and 2012.

"Paddy's list of accolades also includes Commonwealth Gold on two occasions, Delhi 2010 and Captain of Ireland in Glasgow 2014, WSB appearances and a host of national titles."

Barnes, who has no involvement in crime, said: "Representing Ireland has always been my ambition and now I hope to emulate that success as a professional.

"After the Olympics there were many offers on the table, but being part of Team MGM was the natural choice."

When asked later by RTE presenter Ray D'Arcy about the move, Barnes said: "I won't be training in Marbella, they are only my management team and they are one of the best t teams in the world.

Debut

"Look at Liam Smith, Martin Murray and Billy Joe Saunders. World title challengers and world champions. If it's good enough for them, it is good enough for me."

Barnes revealed last week that his pro debut will be in his native Belfast sometime before Christmas.

Earlier this year an MGM-sponsored event was taking place in the Regency Hotel earlier when a six-man hit team stormed the hotel, murdering cartel lieutenant David Byrne (33).

Daniel Kinahan was believed to be the primary target of the hit.

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