Bantamweight boxer Barney Stokes ready to put Burnley on the map after joining MTK
Two-time national champion and Tri-Nation’s gold medalist Barney Stokes is hoping to take over the world after joining MTK.
The 19-year-old bantamweight boxer from Burnley has teamed up with the promotion’s Manchester division, where he’ll be coached by former world kickboxing champion Johnney Roye.
The teenager signed professional terms last year after making more than 60 appearances as an amateur for Sandygate ABC, Stoke Staffs ABC and Clayton ABC.
As an ex-England international, Stokes trained alongside the likes of Dennis McCann at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield under the expert eye of performance coach Mick Driscoll.
And he feels the experience of representing his country has helped him evolve as a fighter.
“It was definitely a very proud moment for me,” said Stokes, who attended Great Marsden St Johns C of E Primary School in Nelson.
“I learned a lot fighting for England and it brought me on as a boxer.
“I had dreamt of fighting at the Olympics but I had a few knock backs with injuries.
“After that I knew the only way to make a name for myself was to turn pro.”
Boxing is in Barney’s blood.
His father, Edward, won several amateur titles with Repton Boxing Club in Bethnal Green while his brothers – Tom, John and Edward – have all laced up the gloves.
The 118lb pugilist, who cites Tyson Fury, Canelo Álvarez and Billy Joe Saunders as his idols, has been putting in the hard yards at the gym’s Oyston Mill base in Strand Road in readiness for that life-changing phone call.
With a fight date for his pro debut still to be set in stone, he said: “I’m hoping to get a fight date soon. I can’t wait for my debut.
“That means everything to me at the minute and I’m excited to get in there.
“Everything has been building towards my professional debut.
“I would love to have my debut in Burnley.
“It’s only a small town and I would love to put it on the map.”
Stokes is already setting his sights high.
Talk of future world title tilts simply rolled off the tongue, but the Birmingham-born boxer, who comes from an Irish traveller background, is backing himself to walk the walk.
He said: “I want to win world titles in all different weight classes.
“That’s something I feel I can go on and achieve.
“I believe I can beat anybody at this weight.
“I need to get a few fights under my belt and work my way up the ladder.
“I’m a good boxer, nice and relaxed in the ring, I was always able to keep my cool and I was good under pressure. I can box, but I can hit as well. I’m big for my weight and my age, which will help me as a professional.”