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A stylish southpaw with power in both hands, David Barnes is considered by many to be one of British boxing's most outstanding natural talents.
Barnes won his first Lonsdale belt, as a welterweight, at just 22 years of age. After streaking to twelve straight pro victories, Barnes met and defeated Jimmy Vincent in July 2003 to fulfil a boyhood dream and lift the British crown. He followed that belt-winning performance with successful title defences against Kevin McIntyre and Glenn McClarnon, before dazzling everybody with a stunning sixth round stoppage win over James Hare in November 2004.
Barnes attempted to win the WBO Intercontinental and Commonwealth welterweight belts in 2005, but fell short of doing both. He battled to a contentious draw with Ali Nuumbembe in April and then two months later saw his unbeaten record shattered by Joshua Okine, a relentless Ghanaian who impressively stopped Barnes in the twelfth and final round of a Commonwealth title clash.
Defeat to Okine would prove to be the end of Barnes as a welterweight, and the Manchester southpaw progressively made the drop to light-welterweight, a move which culminated in a shot at the vacant British light-welterweight title in 2008. Again proving his mettle against the best in Britain, Barnes outboxed and dominated heavy puncher Ted Bami over the distance to win a unanimous decision and take the British title home. He then followed that title win with another masterclass, this time against Scotland's Barry Morrison in defence of his newly-acquired British belt.
That win in July 2008 marks the last time Barnes competed in a championship fight. His only appearance in 2009 arrived in Matchroom's Prizefighter tournament and then, to the surprise of many, Barnes sat out 2010 altogether, choosing not to fight and instead focus on family life.
Despite taking two years out, and freely admitting his interest waned, Barnes maintained a relatively healthy lifestyle during his time away and hovered just above his old fighting weight. At 31 years of age, and with 29 pro bouts to his name, he has now reached that ideal tipping point between experience and ambition. Seasoned enough to know right from wrong, yet young enough to still dream big, Barnes has returned with a win over Isaac Quartey and an unfortunate technical draw with former world champion Vivian Harris.