The Belfast boxer stated that he struggled with the weight cut in the buildup to his fight on Monday
Paddy Barnes has cited the difficulties of cutting weight down to light flyweight after his defeat in his Rio 2016 opening fight.
The bronze medalist from 2008 and 2012 lost to Samuel Carmona Heredia by split decision, with two judges giving it to the Spaniard by a score of 29-28, and the last one giving it to Barnes by the same margin.
Barnes was shocked in the first round by Heredia's resilience as well as his power, as he refused to back down in spite of Barnes landing some good shots.
However, the Irish boxer was on the receiving end of a few clean hits from his opponent, as the judges gave the first round to the Spaniard.
The second round went the way of the Irishman, as he appeared to have been spurred into action by the performance of Heredia; his movement was better and he landed some shots that saw the judges level things on the scorecard heading into the deciding round.
A late shot as Barnes was looking at the referee, who he believed had stepped in, got an angry reaction from the blue corner and the Belfast man as it looked as though the bout was getting more brutal.
As both fighters tired, Barnes started the third with a flurry of hits that left the Spaniard reeling, but he dug deep to close strongly in the final minute. The Irishman looked to be totally out of energy and struggled to defend the hard hits from his 20-year-old rival.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Speaking to Richie McCormack of Off The Ball after his bout, Barnes said his energy flagged badly after a difficult opening to the fight: "I felt good getting into the ring, but at the end of the first round my energy was completely gone, I had nothing what soever to give. I don't know how I threw as many punches as I did I just don't know where they came from because they were just so weak."
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Showing just how upset he was with his own performance, Barnes said "I thought I won the last round abut I'm actually happy that he won it. In the next fight, I wouldn't have lasted the pace and I would have been embarrassed and made a fool of myself.
"I came here for the gold medal and I truly believed that I was going to win it, but to be eliminated in the first fight, it's terrible."
"The difficulty of making weight was a huge issue for Barnes, who noted that "my last championship fight at 49 kilo was 2014 [...] Making weight every day over the full week, it's too much for me I couldn't last it
"My biggest battle in boxing, it's making weight. Behind the scenes people don't understand how hard it is."
Eddie Bolger of the high performance unit also noted that the result was not what they had expected coming into the Games, and that the focus was now on the rest of the team for both the coaches and Barnes, who has a role to play as the team leader
"It is a bit of a blow obviously," said Bolger, "but we’ve got to look after the other boys now [...] this is a bit of a shock alright but that’s boxing."
Barnes echoed those sentiments, saying: "The show still goes on, you've got Michael Conlan and Joe Ward big names in Irish boxing and, please God they bring home the gold medals, like I should have done."