I’m a two-time Olympic boxing medallist.. now I’m trying my hand at new sport but it’s the hardest thing I've ever done | The Sun

FORMER Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes has turned to a new sport after retiring from boxing in 2019.

The 36-year-old declared he has "fallen in love" with CrossFit after training at the KVLR gym in Belfast since hanging up his gloves.


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He will compete in his first CrossFit competition in Northern Ireland this month.

Barnes is a two-time Olympic bronze medallist who also won gold representing Northern Ireland in the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth games.

The former flyweight fought nine times as a professional after moving into the paid ranks in 2016, challenging for a world title at Windsor Park in 2018.

He said he has fallen in love with CrossFit despite admitting it's the "hardest thing I've done".

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Barnes told Belfast Live: "I absolutely love it, and I don't know why. I go in and it is the hardest training I have done in my life, but I am addicted to it.

"And there could be worse things you could be addicted to, know what I mean?

"This morning I did 100 double unders (skipping), 16 devil presses which went down in twos. It took me 11 minutes and nearly killed me, but I had been on the drink all weekend.

"I remember my first session I ever did in CrossFit. I had to take a week off work after it to recover.

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"I did a thing called the 'Murph' which is a mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 press-ups, 300 squats and a mile run again. And I couldn't function for a week.

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"I would fly through it now though."

CrossFit is a branded fitness regimen that was developed by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000.

The exercise style combines a weight-lifting training style with developing cardiovascular fitness through high intensity exercise.

Barnes says CrossFit has allowed him to refocus after a few wayward years.

"I retired from boxing in 2019, and ever since then I have been eating and drinking," he joked.

"But to be fair I have done a lot of running as I enjoy it, things like 5ks and all that.

"I run around the Waterworks which kept me ticking over for a while. But the CrossFit was a shock to the system.

"I love it though, I really do. I want to apply myself a bit more.

"I have competition at the end of the month in Mallusk, in a team of three. There are loads of competitions in the south of Ireland which I might enter to see how I get on, but give myself time to prepare properly for it.

"The Mallusk competition is intermediate standard. I am fit but I am not strong enough for the proper elite stage.

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"I would be kidding myself if I said yes to one of those competitions."

When asked if he misses boxing at all, Barnes said: "Definitely not. I don't mind not getting punched in the face."

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