ROYSTON READY FOR LIFT-OFF

posted on: 17/02/2022

FRANK WARREN IS set to unleash his teenage amateur superstar Royston Barney-Smith on the professional ranks on March 19 at the OVO Arena, Wembley.

The two-time European championship gold medallist turned 18 on January 4 and is ready to launch his pro journey under the management of Hall of Fame promoter Warren and the BT Sport banner as part of the supporting cast to European welterweight champion David Avenesyan making a fifth defence of his title against the unbeaten Finn Oskari Metz, 15-0.

Barney-Smith enjoyed a glittering stint in the amateur code of the sport, with 50 fights under his belt resulting in 45 wins. The product of Pinewood Starr represented England at four international championships and wore the colours of his country on 37 occasions, winning a staggering 36.

The Poole-born youngster, who was raised in Southampton, diverted from his 2024 Olympic dream – where he was strongly tipped for success – after linking up with Southampton trainer Wayne Batten to increase his experience in conjunction with his amateur activity.

A right-handed southpaw, Barney-Smith won gold at both the 2017 and 2018 Europeans, also collecting bronze in 2019. His gold medal exploits limited his participation in National championships, where he has two successes to his name.

“It has been a long time coming,” said Barney-Smith, who in recent months has rang the changes and teamed up with new trainer Ben Davison in Harlow. “I have never been more confident and have never lacked self-belief. Now I am training with Ben, it has brought me on leaps and bounds.”

Barney-Smith, however, says he swapped teams with a heavy heart after working with Batten for many years.

“I was having a bit of conversation with Ben and I asked if I could come down for a couple of weeks. After that I asked if I could train here full time and he said it would be a pleasure.

“It was hard to change because I love Wayne and he knows the reasons why. He is still a good friend and a good family friend. Wayne is a gentleman.

“It was a big move because to train here I have to live here and it was a big commitment at the young age of 17 and now 18. It is definitely worth it though, 100 per cent.

“It is a big sacrifice on my behalf and everyone else’s. I am very close to my family and it is very hard to emotionally let go. It is a big weird not seeing them every day but I have grown into a young man now and I just get on with the job I have to do.

“I train from Monday to Friday and leave on Friday afternoon and come back on Sunday night to get a good, fresh start on the Monday morning. I train twice a day at 8am or 9am and then 2pm or 4pm.”

Barney-Smith is following the rituals of his housemate and undisputed super lightweight world champion Josh Taylor. The difference being Taylor trains within fixed term camps and then heads home to Edinburgh until his next assignment. The teenager is adopting the routine on a long-term basis.

“For sure it is good to see Josh, Lee McGregor and Leigh Wood doing what they have to do. They have titles, they have family and I do know that they make big sacrifices. I understand early what I have to do to become the best.

“That is why I like being down here and watching them, while growing as a person and seeing what it takes to be the best. I am doing it full-time and I like it. If I am not down here I am not growing as a boxer. I am putting the time in, getting the rounds in and doing what a boxer should be doing to be the best they can possibly be.

“I get a little bit homesick, but that is what FaceTime is for, so it is not too bad.”

Tickets for an incredible night of Championship boxing at the OVO Arena are on sale now available at AXS.com

European welterweight champ David Avanesyan tops the night of multiple championship clashes on March 19 at the OVO Arena, Wembley against the unbeaten Finn Oskari Metz, 15-0, in what will be a fifth defence of his EBU belt.

An array of the country’s finest young prospects/contenders feature on the card, headed by Hamzah Sheeraz (14-0, 10 KOs), who will take on Jez Smith (13-4-1, 6 KOs) for the WBC International Silver middleweight title in a fight that is sure to bring fireworks and a tough welcome to a new division.

Thrilling bantamweight star Dennis McCann is entering into title business for the first time. ‘The Menace’ (11-0, 6 KOs) will fight for the WBO Youth world title over eight rounds against Charles Tondo (12-4-2, 5 KOs), a southpaw from Tanzania.

The two leading young lightweights in Britain are also in action at Wembley, with Sam Noakes (8-0, 8 KOs) making a first defence of his WBC International Silver title against the Italian Vincenzo Finiello (15-4-2, 1 KO). While Mark Chamberlain (9-0, 6 KOs) takes on a 10-rounder for the first time.

Further title action comes with relentless featherweight star Louie Lynn (10-0, 7 KOs) defending his WBC International Silver belt for a second time against James Beech jr (14-2, 2 KOs) from Bloxwich.

Completing the card, gifted super lightweight prospect Henry Turner (6-0) will have a fourth six-rounder, explosive super feather Masood Abdullah (3-0, 3 KOs) goes in with Engel Gomez (8-4, 4 KOs) over six rounds and super lightweight Sonny Liston Ali (2-0) fights Birmingham’s Sean Davis (14-18), also in a six-rounder.

In four-round action, Khalid Ali (1-0, 1 KO) will look to double his win tally against Kris Pilkington (2-10-1).

Tickets for an incredible night of Championship boxing at the OVO Arena are on sale now available at AXS.com

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