Former ABA champ Barclay takes to the professional ranks

John Mulheron (left) with Corby boxer Simon Barclay in training
John Mulheron (left) with Corby boxer Simon Barclay in training

Simon Barclay is preparing for a new challenge after deciding to turn professional.

The 23 year-old from Corby will be managed by Jason McClory and trained by John Mulheron, who was with Barclay throughout a 52-fight amateur career that brought two ABA titles, Three Nations honours and England recognition.

Barclay is expected to sign a promotional deal with Queensberry Promotions in the next few weeks and his professional debut is pencilled in for next February in front of the Box Nation cameras.

Barclay twice won the ABA title - at cruiserweight in 2010 and heavyweight two years later - and will become the town’s first professional boxer since Ian Bailie hung up his gloves almost 20 years ago.

“The time is right,” he said.

“My power is developing and I was getting a bit fed up with the amateurs.

“I wasn’t getting much of a chance with England and I didn’t want to just keep going in the ABAs every year, doing the same thing.

“I always wanted to box for England before I turned professional and I’ve done that, so I have no regrets.

“Because of my amateur background I’m hoping to move up to six-round level fairly quickly in the pros.

“I’ve got a great team behind me and Jason believes that within two years, I could be going for the British cruiserweight title.”

Mulheron has trained Barclay since he first came to his gym at the Triangle Sports Centre just before his 15th birthday and is preparing him for his professional debut having applied for his pro-am trainer’s license, meaning he can work with both amateur and professional boxers.

He describes Barclay as “a joy to work with” and added: “We have never had an argument in eight years working together.

“We know each other inside out and now we have to lift our game a bit more.

“Simon had a great amateur career, we were disappointed he didn’t make it into the Great Britain set up and he’s decided it’s time to move on.

“Simon is a Corby lad through and through and he wants to put the town on the boxing map. We want the town to get behind him.”

Mulheron spelled out Barclay’s attributes.

“Simon is totally dedicated to boxing,” he said. “In his eight years with me he has only missed a handful of training sessions.

“Every time he lost as an amateur he stuck at it and put things right.

“Simon isn’t just physically tough with a granite jaw. He’s mentally tough as well. He has had a lot of tough, exciting fights in the amateurs where he’s come from behind to win.”

McClory, who is matchmaker for Frank Warren and has also worked with Amir Khan, Golden Boy Promotions and the Klitschko brothers, hopes Barclay will box “at least five times each year” and added: “I’m really pleased to be managing Simon.

“He is a talented young man and his amateur record shows that.

“He’s the only boxer to beat Deion Jumah in an amateur bout - and Jumah is rated one of the best prospects in the country.

“That shows Simon’s quality and although he has to serve his apprenticeship in the professional ranks, looking at the ratings I think there are only a few guys in Britain right now who could give him a 50-50 fight.”