KELVIN Young faces experienced veteran Matthew Barney when he returns to the ring next month.
Barney, a former WBU and British light heavyweight champion, will provide a stern test for the Swindon boxer on March 9 when he defends his Southern Area super middleweight title at Swindon Oasis Leisure Centre.
The 25-year-old is hoping to bounce back to winning ways after he was knocked out by Tony Hill last October but says he was not tempted to take an easier fight.
At 38, Barney is nearing the end of his career during which he went the distance with current WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch and challenged for the Commonwealth and European titles.
He has only been stopped once in 37 fights and Young believes he will have to be at his best to beat Barney.
“I asked for Matthew Barney,” revealed Young. “I saw his record and found out he was still active and figured he would be the toughest fight out there for me right now.
“I could have taken an easier fight for my comeback but I didn’t want that. After my last fight I feel I have to make a statement and beating Matthew Barney would do exactly that.
“He is no mug and won’t be fazed about fighting me.
“He has gone the distance with Carl Froch and won a version of the world title. It would be a great scalp to have on my record.”
Barney will have to step down from light heavyweight to super middle for the fight, and Young believes that factor could play into his favour.
“Obviously he is coming down to super middleweight where as I am stepping up,” added the former Penhill amateur. “Hopefully that will work in my favour.
“He is 38 but his last three fights suggest he is still mixing it with decent boxers, so I have to be wary.
“I believe my speed will be too much for him.”
Young has also changed trainers since his last fight, switching to RAF Brize Norton boxing coach Richard Farnam.
And Young believes he is already reaping the rewards.
He added: “I decided to make a change after the last fight.
“No disrespect to my old coach Islan Eltuyev but I needed a change.
“I’m working more on the boxing now rather than the fitness.
“Before it was 50-50 between the fitness and boxing but now we are more focused on the boxing and devising a gameplan.
“I’m training 50 per cent of the time at Brize Norton and 50 per cent at the Horseshoe Gym.
“I feel sharper and I am getting some good sparring at Brize Norton because they have some really good boxers on base.
“I made a lot of mistakes in my last fight and we have looked at them. We’ve been looking at boxing more and using my reach.”
Young will headline the Keith Mayo Promotions’ show on March 9, which will also feature Swindon boxers Lawrence Bennett, Danny O’Reilly and Joe Beeden.
Tickets cost £35/£60 VIP and can be obtained by calling 07951940768 or visiting www.kmpromotions.co.uk.