By Sylvana Ambrosanio

With the praises coming thick and fast from all corners of the boxing world about the Kronk fighters SylvanaBoxing.com thought it was about time we got to know a bit about the rising stars.

Today, I had the pleasure to sit down with up and coming boxer Anthony Barnes who is a 21 year old Super Middleweight boxer from Detroit US. His record is 1-0 with his debut win coming by way of knockout.

SylvanaBoxing.com will follow his journey as he force his way through the ranks to the top, and of course, you, the boxing fans, are all invited to join us on this exciting and fast paced journey! Keep an eye on Anthony Barnes who will have regular features and updates right here at SylvanaBoxing.com.

SA: First off all, congratulations on your pro debut back in October. You won by TKO in the 3rd round. What are your thoughts on the fight?

AB: It was a good first fight. My opponent had 4 professional fights, so he had some experience in the ring. He wasn't a push over - he came ready and wanting to win. My coach Javan Sugar Hill wasn't able to be in my corner for my fight because he was with Adonis Stevenson for his fight in Montreal Quebec. Instead I had my team mate Johnathon Banks in my corner, who I had been working with in the weeks prior to my fight. So I felt really comfortable even without Sugar Hill in my corner. Johnathon's advice to me in the corner was; to be calm, take my time and not to look for the knock out. So I did what he told me and in the 3rd round I got the Knock Out!

SA: Do you already know when you will fight next?

AB: My next fight will be May 10th at Detroit's Masonic Temple. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports.

SA: I see you have a good amount of experience in the amateurs, with a record of 56-12. Tell us more about your amateur career?

AB: My amateur career was a great experience for me to learn how to fight in front of large groups of people and not get overwhelmed or distracted. It also gave me a chance to travel, fight in other places besides my hometown and taught me how to focus when I'm on the road. I was a top ranked amateur throughout my career. I fought in all the National tournaments. In the Juniors division, I won the Junior National Golden Gloves, Michigan Silver Gloves, Michigan Junior Olympics, 4 time Junior Metro Detroit Golden Gloves Champion. In the Senior Division I was a 5 time Detroit Golden Gloves Champion, Quarter finalist in National Golden Gloves, Bronze Medal in National PALS, Winner of the Arnold Classic.

SA: What about the transition from amateur to professional boxing? Were there many habits to unlearn, or is it more like an ongoing process?

AB: It was more of an ongoing process. I was never trained to fight like an amateur. The overall goal was always to become a professional boxer and win a world title.

SA: What was the motivator to enter the pro ranks?

AB: My motivator is the love I have for the sport. There is nothing better than being in the ring... it’s what I do... it’s what I’m good at, so I wanted to make it my career. Now that it is my career, it motivates me even more, knowing that I’m living my dream.

Emanuel Steward and Anthony Barnes

SA: How did you prepare yourself for this new journey in your boxing career?

AB: In preparing for my pro debut I had great sparring with Adonis Stevenson. I trained harder than ever before. I was training 3 times a day, 6 days a week and I picked up the pace on my workouts making them harder every time. 

SA: What thoughts were running thru your mind minutes before your pro debut? 

AB: The only thing I was thinking about before my fight, was how I was going to stay calm in the ring. I was so excited for my fight, I didn’t want to get over excited and think too much or not think at all. I just wanted a good debut, one that looked good and showed how sharp I was, showing I was ready for the pro ranks.

SA: So when did you start boxing and what got you into it? 

AB: I was about 13 years old and my best friend, Sam, boxed because he wanted to get in shape. I was a fat kid with nothing better to do in the summer, so I decided I would go with him and check it out. I continued to go with him for the next couple of weeks and fell in love with boxing and never left.

SA: For the people who have never seen you fight, how would you describe your boxing style?

AB: I would describe myself as a boxer puncher. I can move and use my jab with good speed and timing, but I also have power behind those punches. I like to take the fight to my opponents, being aggressive and controlling the pace of the fight.

SA: You are proudly representing the KRONK GYM. What was it like to be under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward?

AB: Emanuel was an inspirational person. He really knew how to get you motivated and excited before a fight. He had a dynamic personality, going places with him was always fun. Everyone knew him; he was a real people person. He loved being around people and he was always willing to talk boxing with anyone that wanted to talk boxing. He had some amazing stories to tell. Emanuel had so much energy, there was always something he was doing. He was someone I truly looked up too. 

Anthony and Sugar Hill

SA: You train with Emanuel Steward’s nephew ‘Sugar Hill’. What does your training look like?

AB: I was always trained by Sugar Hill along with Emanuel. Sugar Hill and Emanuel Stewards style of training are exactly the same. Sugar Hill learned everything he knows from his uncle, from wrapping hands, to pad work, down to the great advice they give in the corner.

SA: Let’s talk a bit about your experience with the champions.

AB: I have had great opportunities to spare with many world champions and top ranked professional boxers, such as Johnathon Banks, Andy Lee, Cornielius "K9' Bundrage, Miguel Cotto, Lanardo Tyner, Ruslan Chagaev, Chad Dawson, Brian Vera, Adonis Stevenson, Edwin Rodriguez, Donovan George, Anthony Dirrell and many others. Each one of them has taught me something different about the sport in and out of the ring, which has helped to build me into a well rounded boxer. From my experiences, I have learned what it is like in the weeks before a fight, with press conferences, public workouts and other public relation events. Now that I have become a professional I think these experiences will help me as I am starting into my career. I have a lot more to learn but I have a great team around me that I will continue to help guide my way.

SA: How did working with the world class boxers help you prepare mentally and physically for your first fight? 

AB: Boxing with so many world class boxers over the years helped me so much mentally. Knowing that I’ve been in the ring with the best, made me realize that I’m not far off from being one of the best and becoming a world class fighter. 

Anthony Barnes and Adonis Stevenson

SA: Who are your boxing inspirations and why?

AB: Emanuel Steward was a big inspiration to me. He had so much knowledge, trained so many world class fighter and so many great stories. Being around someone like him really was amazing. He’s one of the biggest faces in boxing and he told me that someday I’ll become a world champion. Hearing that from him really inspired me to make something of myself in the sport of boxing.

SA: Which fighters did you admire growing up?

AB: Gerald McClellan was the fighter I looked up to the most. He was a big puncher, with good boxing skills. He also boxed out of the Kronk Gym.

SA: You helped K9 get ready for his fight vs. Smith. What are your thoughts on this one?

AB: In camp K9 was training hard for this fight. He had great sparring and he was boxing great, but when it came to fight night, it just wasn’t his night. He could have done better if he would have listened to his corner.

SA: So how does your family feel that you are choosing the sport of boxing as a career?

AB: At first, my family was not big on the idea of me boxing. Now my family is a big part of my boxing. They are my number one supporters. They will do anything for me just to make sure I can be the best fighter I can possibly be. My dad is a huge part of my boxing career, he is always at the gym watching me when he can. When I was an amatuer, I was fighting in Golden Gloves Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana. He drove with my mother to Indiana from Detroit and back for a week straight, after working all day. They do more than I could ever ask for when it comes to me and my boxing. 

Anthony Barnes, Emanuel Steward, with 'Lil Ant's' parents Susan & Urs Barnes

SA: Who is Anthony Barnes like outside of the ring? What do you like to do for fun, hobbies, favorite sport besides boxing?

SA: Anthony Barnes outside the ring... is a very silly person, always joking and messing around. I’m a people person. I love being around people, doesn’t matter who, as long as they are fun and nice. I listen to all kinds of music, anything that sounds good to me. I am a “foodie”, I love all foods (besides mushrooms). I like trying new kinds of foods, there is nothing I won’t try. If I wasn’t a pro boxer I’d be a pro eater!

SA: What are your ambitions for this year?

This year I’m looking to stay busy and start getting more fights. I’m making efforts to seek management. I want to find management that will help to keep me busy and push my career in the right direction with a fast pace.

SA: If you could write your own script, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In the next five years, I see myself being a household name in the boxing world, as a “soon to be world champ”, that is if I’m not one already.

SA: Do you have a message to all your fans, friends and family out there?

AB: I want to thank everyone who supports me, they mean so much to me. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I also want to thank my friends, they have been there for me in everything I’ve done. They are the best group of friends anyone could ask for. Without them I know for a fact I wouldn’t be boxing today.

Thanks to Susan and Urs Barnes for the photos.