Earlier return and a shot at the gold for Corby's Barclay

Simon Barclay is fighting for the vacant IBF European title next week
Simon Barclay is fighting for the vacant IBF European title next week

Simon Barclay will fight for the vacant IBF European title in Edinburgh next week.

The Corby cruiserweight has stepped in to face Stephen Simmons a week tomorrow (October 6).

Simmons was supposed to challenge Matty Askin for the British Cruiserweight title but Askin has been ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Barclay had already been planning for his return to the ring following a bicep injury in his hometown in November but his comeback will now be at the Meadowbank Arena in Edinburgh.

The 12-round contest, which will be Barclay’s first fight at that distance, will also be screened live on BoxNation.

And the Corby boxer said: “I can’t wait to get in there and show what I can do in my first 12-rounder.

“After a frustrating last year with my injury it’s great to get this opportunity so quick but I’m more than ready.

“I’ve been back in the gym since around June, getting myself back in shape and had already upped my training for my scheduled fight in November when I got the call.

“He was due to fight Matty Askin for the British title but Askin withdrew due to injury so my manager managed to get me the fight with Simmons for the IBF European title with the winner guaranteed to move into the top 15 in the IBF rankings.”

Burton Park ABC’s Leo Playford reached the quarter-finals in the Junior European Championships in Bulgaria.

The 14-year-old, who was fighting at 80kg, enjoyed a win over Narek Barseghyan but then gave away two years in age against tough Russian Zakharev Mikhailm, who has had more than 75 bouts and is a three-time champion in his country.

It proved to be a step too far for the Huxloe Science College student, who has enjoyed an outstanding season in which he picked up England and Great Britain honours.

Burton Park head coach Wayne Sharp said: “We are very proud of Leo and what he has achieved and the England coaches were impressed by the way he boxed the Russian, going toe-to-toe at times.

“He’s still only 14 and learning all the time. He’s very focused on getting back and moving through the levels and getting ready for the Juniors in April. He’s convinced the gold will be his next year.”