Newcastle-based boxer James Barnes (1-5) cuts an almost unrecognisable figure compared to his last outing eight months ago, and the former heavyweight is determined to prove a point in his next bout, on March 26, at Gateshead Leisure Centre.
The 33-year-old made a successful debut in November 2014, but was left disheartened after several consecutive defeats. A stoppage loss against Michael Dixon in July was the final straw, and made Barnes realise that drastic action had to be taken in order to revive his career.
After shedding over six stone, Barnes is feeling better than ever and is ready to start a new chapter at light heavyweight.
“I came close to retiring from boxing after losing to Michael Dixon, but I decided that with the amount of time and effort I’ve put into boxing I had to continue.
“I’ve had a few bad fights and a number of decisions go against me, so I decided to move down two weight divisions. Originally I was going to aim for Cruiserweight but the weight kept coming off.
“I am looking forward to showing off my new skills at light heavyweight. I’ve changed my boxing style completely and haven’t lost any punching power. As far as I’m concerned I’m starting from scratch and it’s like my debut again.”
Barnes, who trains out of Jobes gym in Benwell, has seen a career revamp in the last few months – and has added the services of experienced trainer Keith McDonald.
He added: “Keith got in touch and said he wanted to help train me as he saw potential and doesn’t believe my record does my ability any justice.
“Since he’s come on board he’s got me to where I should be. Now that I’ve moved down in weight there will be more fights available. Hopefully I can get on more home shows to settle at the weight before going on the road again.”
Fighting Chance Promotions host ‘Genesis’ – a night of professional boxing show on March 26, at Gateshead Leisure Centre. The bill includes an array of North East talent, including Jon-Lewis Dickinson, Josh Leather, Jone TK, Jamie ‘Boom Boom’ Jones and Mark White amongst others.
Tickets can be purchased from any of the boxers on the bill or fromwww.fightingchancepromotions.co.uk.