FRANK WARREN IS delighted to announce the signing of teenage amateur superstar Royston Barney-Smith.
The two-time European championship gold medallist, 17, will turn professional with Queensberry upon his 18th birthday on January 4.
Barney-Smith, who will also be managed by Hall of Fame promoter Warren, has enjoyed a glittering stint in the amateur code of the sport, with 50 fights under his belt bringing about 45 wins. The product of Pinewood Starr has represented England at four international championships and worn the colours of his country on 37 occasions, winning 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 tandem with his amateur activity.
Batten, who also trains Ryan Garner and Mark Chamberlain, will train Barney-Smith in the professional ranks from his new gym premises within the shadow of Southampton FC’s St Mary’s home ground.
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.
“I cannot wait for it and I am itching to get going,” said Barney-Smith, who intends to initially campaign at super featherweight. “I was meant to go to the 2024 Olympics and then, obviously, Covid hit and messed things up. Then I started talking to Frank, took everything into consideration, and here we are.
“It was a very, very good offer and I took it with both hands. Coming to train with Wayne alongside my amateur work kind of clashed for me because I was watching all the pros like Mark Chamberlain and Ryan Garner before going back to the amateur gym. I was the top one and there was nobody to look up to or chase.
“So I have pushed my amateur career to one side to come over to the pros. It was a change of heart over a period of time, to be honest. Where I was dominating so much year upon year, it became like ‘what am I doing this for?’ and I fell out of love with it a little bit.
“Now I am turning pro, it is like a whole new chapter where I have got to accomplish things and be the best I can be.
“The way I fight really, even though it will sound cringey, it is a bit poetic. I don’t really get hit a lot, I don’t like getting hit even though I am a boxer and it is part of the job. I float across the ring, rather than step or plod, I glide and pull shots out of nowhere. He’s here, he’s there, bomb, and he’s gone again!
“There is definitely also power there and I have given the national champions of loads of countries standing eight counts fighting a year above my age group. I always push myself to be the best and always fought a year above.
“In the first 12 months we are going to take it steady and learn our craft. I am not scared of fighting anybody though and I have been sparring the likes of Martin J Ward, the current Spanish champion (Alejandro Moya), Ryan Garner and Lyon Woodstock.
“My dream is to be the youngest world champion.
“Frank Warren is a nice person and he believes in me personally – and I believe in him. There was an automatic connection between us, we clicked and he can get me to where I need to be and I will commit my full life and soul to it. It is going to happen.”
Promoter Frank Warren added: “I am thrilled to bring Royston onboard and I cannot wait until January when we can unleash him on the professional ranks. He is a unique talent with an outstanding pedigree from the amateurs and a proven winner at international level.
“All the ingredients are in place for him to become the complete package as a pro and I have as much confidence in him as he rightly has in himself. It is going to be an exciting journey and it will be a privilege to manage and promote him as he takes the next big step on his career path.
“He has got himself a top trainer in Wayne, who is doing big things down in Southampton, building up a superb crop of young fighters including Ryan Garner, Mark Chamberlain and the Frankham cousins, Josh and Levi. So Royston will be working in good company and they will all push each other along.
“I feel sure the public and fans will warm to him and get right behind him in his quest to become a world champion at a young age.”