Paddy Barnes: The Zika virus? Don’t make me laugh. I wouldn’t mind catching it if I knew i’d be winning gold in Rio

As the cunning pre-planned stunt by Paddy Power and Paddy Barnes is revealed the light-flyweight takes a swing at golfers, his sponsorship battles and trying to win gold for Team Ireland



A lot of professional golfers have been using the Zika virus as a reason to why they’re not playing in the Olympics. They talk about potentially contracting it in Brazil and the potential risk it could pose to them and their families.

They’re talking shit. Just tell the truth. There’s no money involved for them. The Zika virus is in a lot more countries than Brazil. Are they going to withdraw from tournaments or not go on holidays to these countries too? It’s a money thing and I’d have more respect for them if they came out and told the truth.

I’ve no concerns about Zika. There’s disease all around the world and the chances of catching it in Brazil are slim to none. And I’m someone who should have the most concerns as my fiancé Mari is pregnant.

If someone said to me, Paddy, it’s like this, you can have a Gold medal at the Olympics but you’ve got to catch the Zika virus  – I’d take Zika all day long. F***in’ right I would.


A cunning pre-planned stunt ….

I got some reaction to the ‘cease & desist’ stunt I did with Paddy Power. I’m surprised the shops in Belfast weren’t attacked! People were going mental. I got support from Canada, America & England – all looking to buy my merchandise too!

But judging by some of the tweets @paddypower got – it wound people up no end.

It’s great that Paddy Power are sponsoring me as I’ve fought some of the biggest battles of my career trying to get sponsorship over the years.


Trump that … 

Personally, I’ve written to every company in the world for sponsorship, the likes of Playboy, even Donald Trump for sponsorship, but only two firms ever got back to me.

It’s tough for boxers to raise sponsorship. As former World champion @Bernard_Dunne says we’re just not white collar enough for some people. It’s a working-class sport.

Irish boxers have traditionally done the business at the Olympics but we don’t get recognised as much in the commercial world as the athletes do.

Road to Rio …

We fly out on July 19 to Rio but there’s be no sight-seeing for once I get there. It will be straight into trying to acclimatise.

You can’t spend time travelling to the venues and waiting in line to see the other events as you’ll just tire yourself out and every bit of energy is precious when you’re preparing for a fight.

I’d love to see Usain Bolt and Mo Farah and some of the other track and field events but realistically it’s not going to happen. There’s no special area where competitors can go and watch other events and it’s hard to get tickets to the finals as they’re usually sold out in advance anyway.

I’m feeling good and I always expect to win and while I respect my opponents I think they’ll have to overcome my style rather than me having to overcome theirs.

John Conlan (Michael Conlan’s father) has really helped me this year and last and he and Zaur Antia will also be in my corner in Rio. He’s a technical and tactical genius.

I’m going to see how it goes after the Games as to whether I’ll turn pro or not. But it would be great to go out on a high at Rio. It’s such an honour to be Ireland’s flag-bearer and all I’m thinking about now is winning the gold medal for Team Ireland.

Being blocked by Frankie Boyle …

I’ve always been a big Twitter fan and started off following Frankie Boyle. But he blocked me! I don’t know why as I never tweeted him or anything  – maybe he got me mixed up with someone else. I never followed him after that.

Football crazy …

Funnily enough two mates of mine are Manchester United and Manchester City fans and they were arguing last year over who’d win the Premier League. I honestly said I though Leicester would win it to wind them up as I’ve followed them a bit since Neil Lennon played for them. I could’ve nearly sponsored myself then as Leicester were 5,000/1 to win the Premier League at the start of last season.

I did have a few pounds on Portugal to win Euro 2016 though.

What do you think?