Southport’s former Thai boxing champion looking forward to professional boxing debut in Liverpool 31 March
It has been 12 months in the making, but Southport’s Jake Barton – a former WBC Muay Thai boxing champion – will make his pro boxing debut at the Liverpool Convention Centre on 31 March, and the excited 23-year old couldn’t be happier.
After making the decision to switch codes in April 2017, Barton has, slowly but surely, been learning and developing the skills and techniques needed to perform at the top level in a uniquely different contact sport at the famous Rydal boxing gym in Kirkdale, Liverpool – where he is trained by coaches Rob Butler and Dee Taggert.
Barton will enter the ring as a pro boxer – at light-heavyweight, one division higher than his last ring appearance – for the first time on the Robbie Davies jnr v Michal Syrowatka WBA International super-lightweight title clash in Liverpool later this month, and the former Muay Thai champion’s enthusiasm is self-evident.
He said: “I feel really good, the best I’ve felt for ages. I’m fitter and stronger and can’t wait to show people what I can do. I’m in better physical shape than I’ve ever been and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Barton’s eagerness to make his pro debut appears to be contradicted by the time he has spent preparing for it, but the Southport-born fighter revealed that it has been time both well spent and necessary. “Obviously there are some similarities between the two codes – I’m used to getting fit and getting hit for a start! But they are also very different when it comes to technique, especially punching and footwork. I thought I knew how to punch properly before Rob showed me! The same with my feet – I’m putting them in places I would never have done beforehand but it all helps.”
Barton was also keen to stress the positive change to both his attitude and desire ahead of his debut – changes he attributes to his own ambition and the time spent training at the Rydal.
He said: “I’m really enjoying learning again. It does feel like a new start for me. I had 28 professional Thai boxing fights and got to a decent level, I became a good champion but I’d begun to feel a bit stale. I felt I couldn’t really get any better or make any more progress really but pro boxing will allow me to do that. There’s more opportunities, more fighters, more belts, and you can make a career out of it.
”I had the fitness and the attitude before but now, from the new types of defence I’ve learnt to the extra power I’m getting in my punches, I’ve also got the skills and techniques to go with it. I’ve learnt so much in the last 12 months from Rob and Dee and that’s why I’m keen to get out there and perform as best as I can so people can see the difference they have made. “
Grateful to his manager – and the show’s promoter in association with Kieran Farrell – Neil Marsh, Barton added: “Neil has taken a chance on me and I want to repay him by putting on a good performance. I trust him, and my team, to pick the right fights for me. I want titles. It would be good to replicate the success I had in one code with success in another.”
Echoing his charge’s sentiments, Marsh is also optimistic for Barton’s future, both in the short and long-term. He said: “Jake has spent time learning a new style of boxing with good boxing people and it will be great to see him in action for the first time as a professional on 31 March. We are always looking to put on exciting fights with local fighters and he – as well as the others on the card – fitted the bill perfectly. It should be a great night.”
With a mix of local talent and emerging prospects, the bill also features Liverpool’s Lee Boyce and Brian Phillips, as well as Warrington’s Danny Craven and Courtney Chadwick, St Helens’ Rob Beech and Ellesmere Port’s highly ranked Mason Cartwright.
Tickets, priced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 (VIP) – plus booking fee – for Barton’s next fight at Liverpool’s BT Convention Centre (The Auditorium) on Saturday 31 March, are available from 0344 8000 400 and the Liverpool Echo Arena website http://www.echoarena.com/whats-on/a-night-of-championship-boxing/ Alternatively they can also be bought from the boxer himself on twitter @JBARTON.