AFTER the Olympics and the disappointment there, will it be good to get away from amateur boxing?
I’m really happy because it’s a new chapter and a new challenge so it’s something that I’m excited about. But amateur boxing’s been very good to me. It’s given me a good life and it’s made me the boxer I am today.
As an amateur what would you say was your proudest moment?
Probably 2010 when I won the European championships in Moscow. I was crowned European champion and won the European title when no one from this part of the world was winning European medals. For me winning the gold medal was brilliant.
Due to the World Series of Boxing [which Barnes won], you’ve fought five rounds against the best guys around, you don’t need to do much of an apprenticeship?
Exactly. I have a headstart. So I won’t need to be beating up journeymen because I can afford to be fast-tracked. For me I’ll be expecting to be European champion in five fights. I’ll be moved along quickly.
You get people as well talking about my age, 29. If I had turned pro at 26 I’d be fighting journeymen until I was 29. So now by doing WSB I’m ready already to push on. So age doesn’t make a difference.
Do you know who you’ll be training with?
For this first fight I’ll be training in Belfast, only because the show’s in Belfast and we’re going to fight as fast as we can.
But after this first fight I’m going to probably try and relocate to England and have a few different coaches and see who’s the best for me.
I have a few coaches in mind but I want to see first and see what I like.
Do you know when you’re pro debut will be?
It’s looking like November 5. I’ve had a break for a couple of weeks and I’m bored now so I want to fight again.
The lighter divisions seem to be getting more and more attention at the moment, with Roman Gonzalez in big fights at super-flyweight, there was flyweight world title fight over here with Charlie Edwards. Are you targeting a particular world champion or a particular title?
I think Zou Shiming was fighting for the world title. Regardless if he wins one or not, he is my main target.
So you need revenge on Zou Shiming [the Chinese light-fly beat him in the Olympic semi-finals in 2008 and 2012]?
I need revenge. He is, right now for me, the Mayweather of flyweights. Because he has all the money.
100 % [he’d go to China for it]. It can’t take place in the UK or Ireland, it needs to take place in China. So hopefully that happens.