There’s much to be excited about for expectant father Barclay

Simon Barclay, pictured with world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko at a recent training camp

Simon Barclay, pictured with world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko at a recent training camp

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Simon Barclay is gearing up for a massive month – in and out of the ring.

Barclay aims to make it three wins out of three at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Friday, August 1 – and wife Diane is due to give birth to the couple’s first baby 10 days later.

“We are both really excited,” said the 24-year-old from Corby. “We’ve been busy getting the house and everything else sorted.

“I just hope the baby doesn’t come 10 days early!”

Barclay has had a whirlwind 12 months and says he’s enjoying boxing more than ever after his amateur career ended in the disappointment of a controversial loss in the quarter-finals of the ABA championship.

Barclay, who twice won ABA honours in Corby ABC’s colours, admitted: “Last year wasn’t my best in boxing.

“I went out of the ABAs and didn’t get into the Great Britain squad.

“But now I’m a professional with a great team around me and it’s more exciting and I’m getting more recognition.

“I’m really happy with the way my pro career is going so far. I just need to keep improving and hopefully I can box for the Midlands title early next year, then move on to the British and Commonwealth titles.”

Ovill McKenzie currently holds the British and Commonwealth belts and Barclay sparred him in London earlier this month.

“I gave him as good as I got,” said Barclay. “In terms of boxing skills, I’m not far off the top lads, but I need to get the rounds under my belt and build my fitness.”

Part of his boxing education was a sparring session with Wladimir Klitschko.

The morning after his debut in April, Barclay jumped on a train to Austria to spar the world’s No 1 heavyweight.

Only Joe Louis has held the world heavyweight championship longer than Klitschko and Barclay learned the hard way how the Ukrainian has made 16 title defences in his eight-year reign.

They sparred four rounds and Barclay said: “He’s obviously a great fighter and it’s only when you get in the ring with him that you realise how good he is.

“You don’t realise how fast and clever he is. He’s very hard to hit and if you hesitate, he measures you and lets you have it. It was a good spar.”

Tickets for the show in Wolverhampton are available from www.simon-barclay.co.uk.