Belfast's Paddy Barnes says he could turn professional

Paddy Barnes in action against Simon Nzioki at the 2013 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Kazakstan

Belfast's double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes has revealed he would turn professional immediately if the right contract offer came along.

Barnes, 26, is one of Ireland's most successful amateurs ever, but he has admitted to casting envious glances towards his friend Carl Frampton.

"He is fighting in front of 9,000 people while I am fighting in front of 100," said light-flyweight Barnes.

"If someone offered the right contract I would be away in the morning."

In 2012, Barnes became the first Irish boxer to win medals at successive Olympic Games, adding a London bronze to the one he earned in Beijing four years earlier.

He also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and has earned gold and silver at European level.

Super-bantamweight Frampton, managed by former world champion Barry McGuigan, has won all 17 of his professional contests so far and is considered to be on the verge of a crack at a global crown.

Recently, Barnes was best man at fellow Belfast boxer Frampton's wedding.

"I have had offers and there are people from America talking to me right now. Guys who have signed a few boys," revealed Barnes in an interview with RTE.

"I have thought about it a few times. At the Olympics, you fight in front of large crowds and I want to be doing that more and maybe professional boxing is best for that."

Barnes conceded he had received good financial backing from the Irish Sports Council, but suggested all that could quickly end.

"Funding is reviewed at the end of every year and it can be cut-throat.

"I have done well in amateur boxing, why not turn pro?

"If I win a medal at the next Olympics in Rio, it is not going to get me any more money."

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