USA based Top Rank promotions, headed by Bob Arum, are poised to deny Paddy Barnes the opportunity of another shot at double Olympic champion Zou Shiming.
The Chinese light-fly is turning pro and will be unveiled as Top Rank’s new signing at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
Shiming beat Barnes in the last-four of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics en route to gold in Beijing and London. He edged out the Belfast man on a 45-44 countback following a 15-15 tie in London.
The 31-year-old – (34 is the mandatory retirement age for amateur boxers ) – three-time World Champion, currently occupies No.1 spot in the AIBA rankings.
Barnes is No. 7. However, he’ll now be bumped up to No. 6, when Shiming, who will make his pro debut in Macao on 6 April, switches codes.
Barnes’s dad, Patrick Barnes, admitted that he was disappointed to hear that the Asian star was leaving the amateur ranks.
“Paddy was hoping to have another crack at him at the World Championships in Kazakhstan in October, it might even have been been the final, said Barnes senior.
“Shiming is top class. He’s not an Olympic and World champion for nothing. He does what he has to do to win and we wish him the very best of luck.”
The Chinese boxer had also defeated Barnes at the 2007 World Championships in Chicago.
Meantime, Barnes, the 2010 European champion, will be aiming for his 7th title in-a-row at the National Elite Championships in Dublin next month.
The last time Barnes was beaten in the Elite Championships was in the 2006 final when he dropped a points decision to Jimmy Moore of the St Francis BC in Limerick.