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Royston Barney-Smith talks Billy Joe Saunders influence ahead of debut

Barney-Smith makes professional bow on Saturday

Royston Barney-Smith says he'd like to follow in the footsteps of Billy Joe Saunders ahead of his pro debut on Saturday Photo Credit: Queensberry Promotions/Ed Mulholland/Matchroom
Royston Barney-Smith says he'd like to follow in the footsteps of Billy Joe Saunders ahead of his pro debut on Saturday Photo Credit: Queensberry Promotions/Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Royston Barney-Smith is the latest talent to come out of Ben Davison’s star-studded gym and on Saturday night will look to kickstart his professional career.

Barney-Smith, at just 18-years-old will make his professional bow at the SSE Arena on the undercard of David Avanesyan’s European welterweight title defence against Oskari Metz, live on BT Sport.

Boxing has been a natural path for the super featherweight prospect, who called time on his outstanding amateur career, after inking a promotional deal with Hall of Fame promoter, Frank Warren in August.

“My dad used to box and my family members used to box also,” Barney-Smith told proboxing-fans.com at Thursday’s press conference.

“So, I said why not? It’s a common sport to get into and I enjoyed it and I had a knack for it at a young age.

 

“I used to watch a lot of Erik Morales, [Marco Antonio] Barrera and then after I liked Sugar Ray Leonard the best after that.”

Barney-Smith heads into the paid ranks with a wealth of experience under his belt, having secured two European golds, a European bronze and two national titles in the unpaid code.

Trainer Ben Davison will be guiding his career from his MTK Performance Centre gym, a move which was aided by Billy Joe Saunders.

Barney-Smith alongside Warren after signing with the Hall of Fame promoter in August Photo Credit: Queensberry Promotions
Barney-Smith alongside Warren after signing with the Hall of Fame promoter in August Photo Credit: Queensberry Promotions

“I got in touch with Billy Joe.

“I said ‘Billy Joe, I’m looking for a trainer.’ He said ‘well, I think Ben would be good for you’ and we set up a meeting.

“So we went up for a bit of food with Ben and Billy Joe and we spoke through some of the things and that’s where it came about.

“He said, ‘yeah I’ll train you.’ He put me on a trial period for a week and he said, ‘I see some potential and we’re going to have you on the team.’

 

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Saunders’ future in the sport is uncertain after his devastating defeat to pound-for-pound star, Canelo Alvarez last May, although his legacy as a two-weight world champion certainly remains in tact and Barney-Smith admits he’d like to emulate his achievements.

“I know him, not really on a personal level, but I just know of him and he knows of me.

“So, I thought I’d just give him a call, because obviously his high standard of boxing is unbelievable, two-time world champion and I thought well if he could do it, then I definitely can.

“So, I’d like to follow in the same footsteps as him.”

 

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Even prior to throwing a punch in the professional ranks, Barney-Smith has been mixing with elite professionals in sparring, notably with undisputed super lightweight champion, Josh Taylor who is now his stablemate in Harlow.

Under Frank Warren’s guidance, the 18-year-old has ambitions of five fights in 2022 alone, starting with Saturday night where he faces Spaniard Adan Martinez over four rounds.

 

Warren boosts a promising young stable, with several appearing on the bill including undefeated pair, Dennis McCann and Sam Noakes and he has high hopes for his latest acquisition.

“Is he following in the footsteps of Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan and the great Naseem Hamed of that age?” Warren told Pro Boxing Fans on Thursday.

“We will see in time, but he looks the business.”

Watch the full interview with Royston Barney-Smith below:

 

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