Paddy Barnes signs his first professional deal

No details have yet been released about his opening fight

Paddy Barnes signs his first professional deal

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Paddy Barnes' move to the professional ranks has been confirmed.

The two-time Olympic bronze medallist has joined the MGM stable, based out of Marbella in Spain. Barnes' move to the professional ranks comes after he was defeated in his opening bout at Rio 2016 to a Spanish opponent.

"I've enjoyed every minute of my time as an amateur and my achievements are something I am very proud of", Barnes said in a statement.  "Representing Ireland has always been my ambition and now I hope to emulate that success as a professional”.

"After the Olympics there was many offers on the table but being part of Team MGM was the natural choice and one I’m delighted with. I honestly believe I have the ideal team to guide me to world title opportunities."

The 29-year-old has beaten his great friend Michael Conlan in announcing who he will work with in the professional ranks. Conlan was in Las Vegas last weekend and is expected to join an American promotion in the coming weeks.

Speaking last weekend on Off the Ball, Billy Walsh, the former Irish High Performance coach thinks Barnes has the potential to become a World Champion.

"Knowing Paddy, he can punch, he's a hard puncher. He has a great work rate, and there are not too many flyweights out there who are going to be able to stick with him over eight or ten rounds, if he can extend his stamina to last that long. He's a world-class boxer."

No date has yet been confirmed for Barnes' professional debut.