TWO-WEIGHT world titlist Rances Barthelemy is planning an assualt on the super-lightweight division in 2017.
The 30-year-old has reigned as both IBF super-featherweight and lightweight boss during his career, boasting notable wins over the likes of Argenis Mendez, Antonio DeMarco and Mickey Bey.
Although the talented Cuban – like many high-profile fighters – has suffered from prolonged periods of inactivity in recent years, he is hoping to make his first appearance since last June in the coming months.
“I don’t know when exactly I’ll be back [this year],” Barthelemy told Boxing News. “[But] yes of course I am moving up in weight. My wish is to win a third world title, yes.”
The undefeated fighter made just one outing last year when successfully defending his former lightweight strap against American Mickey Bey, but his immediate aim is to climb the ropes more frequently.
“My aim is to fight more. Hopefully three times or more this year,” he continued.
“Kid Blast” outpointed Dominican Republican Mendez in their 2014 rematch to clinch the IBF’s 130lbs belt, after his initial knockout victory was appealed against and overturned to a no contest.
Following solid displays to overcome all of David Saucedo, Angino Perez and DeMarco, Barthelemy then secured the then vacant 135lbs title with a comfortable points triumph over Russian Denis Shafikov.
The unbeaten Cuban is now focusing his efforts on making an impact at 140lbs, a division which he believes is being ruled by one of the world’s current best.
“For me [Terence] Crawford is the best fighter [in the division] right now,” stated Barthelemy.
The belts which aren’t in Crawford’s possession, the WBA and IBF, will soon be contested for in a unification bout between respective champions Ricky Burns and Julius Indongo. It’s the Scot that the imminently returning Barthelemy is tipping for success on April 15.
“Ricky [Burns] has more experience, I think that will give him the edge,” he added.
With Barthelemy’s future division being dominated by ‘Bud’ Crawford and the aforementioned unification scrap soon taking place, the Cuban isn’t afraid of coming up against any of those names.
“Anybody. I do not have a problem fighting anyone. I feel my best weight to fight at is 140 pounds, I’m far more comfortable there,” he declared.
Barthelemy has achieved a lot already in his eight-year professional career, but the determined two-weight titlist demands much of himself and isn’t yet fully pleased – claiming his best is still yet to come.
“People haven’t seen my best yet. I am proud of my career so far but feel there is more left to do.
“When I left Cuba, my goal was to win a world title. After winning my first world title I felt empty and not yet satisfied.
“Once I won my second title, I felt a little more satisfied but still not enough. That’s why I know I have far more to accomplish, more world titles and big fights.”
A third division world title is the target for Barthelemy on his hopeful return to the fray and achieving such a feat would see him claim a slice of history, something which is driving him on.
“It would mean the most because I would be the first Cuban in history to win a world title in three weight divisions.”