Connect with us

32Red Blog

Royston Barney-Smith exclusive: Yeah, this is on now

Generic boxing


Royston Barney-Smith exclusive: Yeah, this is on now

Royston Barney-Smith exclusive: Yeah, this is on now

All fighters react differently as fight night approaches. Some withdraw into themselves focusing purely on the task at hand, others love the build-up and tension and come alive. You can put Royston Barney-Smith firmly in the second category.

“I love it. This is the best part about it all. This is where all the rewards come true after the training,” Barney-Smith told 32Red on the Monday of fight week. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

“As the fight gets closer I’ll start waking up earlier thinking, “Yeah, this is on now.”

There is one moment that triggers a change in attitude amongst all professional fighters though. The day the sparring equipment is put to one side and the smaller gloves go on in training.

“That’s it. It feels like you could punch through a brick wall.”

I just wanna keep it going

Barney-Smith (5-0, 3 KO’s) is still only 19 but signed his professional contract when he was just 17 years old. He has been given a pretty brisk education. ‘Sugar-Boy Roy’ has boxed five times and has looked just as comfortable amongst the spit and sawdust at venues like the York Hall as he has done beneath the towering stands of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the glittering Wembley arch.

“Yeah, I’m starting to progress a lot better. I just wanna keep it going now. I’m very happy. I’m in a good gym with great atmosphere. When I start training and getting the blood flowing it’s all good,” he said.

“There haven’t been any little hiccups or anything, it’s all gone well. I feel like I’ve matured into myself a bit. My mindset mainly. If my friends call me and say they’re going here or there, I’ll say no because I have to be rested for the gym in the morning. Just little things like that.”

Upon turning pro, Barney-Smith wasn’t exactly shy about voicing his intentions, declaring that he knew what he was capable of doing and that he was capable of becoming the next superstar of British boxing.

I’m sparring the best of the best

He has now spent 12 months living as a professional fighter, getting up close and personal with his fellow prospects, rubbing shoulders with world class fighters like Leigh Wood in Ben Davison’s gym and observing the way the sport operates. Is he still as confident as ever that he will go on to become one of the country’s star attractions?

“Yes. I’m sparring the best of the best really,” he said. “At 17 I was sparring Josh Taylor and he was the unified world champion. From there I’ve sparred other good men and last week I was sparring Joe Cordina. That was unbelievable sparring. It just keeps reassuring me that the goals I’ve got in my head are possible and that I’ve got the ability to do it.”

Despite his lack of experience, Barney-Smith would love nothing more than to be let loose on the domestic super featherweight scene. But he is in the ideal gym and surrounded by the ideal team to just temper that enthusiasm and make sure he progresses the right way. Davison has an analytical approach to his work and the combination of his exuberance and Davison’s calm outlook seems to be paying dividends.

I’d like to be let off the leash

“It goes together. Even though I’d like to be let off the leash, they’ll say that, yeah, I can be eventually but first I’ve gotta go through this bit and get it out of the way and then I can go for it,” he said. “Then, in the back of your mind you’ve got things programmed so that when you see things it’ll just be natural to go for it.”

Barney-Smith may have been exceptionally young when he decided to become a professional. But he had been boxing at an extremely high level as an amateur for years, becoming a two-time National champion and a two-time European gold medallist.

Suddenly, rather than having to battle determined, ambitious fighters for every second of a short sharp amateur fight he found himself trying to prise open the defence of gnarled journeymen determined to stay safe. It was quite the change.

He seems to have cracked it, reeling off three consecutive stoppage victories and going into this weekend more than confident of continuing his run of form.

It just takes a bit of patience

“That was the biggest thing for me. Before my first pro fight I was thinking he might come out fast or slow, he might come forward or go back. When I got in there, he didn’t wanna do anything – well, he didn’t want his hands to drop.”

“That’s their line of work because if they get stopped they can’t box for a few weeks. So that’s where breaking somebody down and opening up gaps comes into it. That’s what took me a little bit of time to become good at.

“Now I’ve got it it isn’t really that difficult anymore. It just takes a bit of patience to set the shots up.”

To see all our latest boxing markets, check out 32Red Sport here. If you’re up for a flutter on table games or the slots, be sure to check out our award-winning casino too!

Continue Reading
You may also like...

More in Boxing

To Top
string(4) "post"