British welterweight champion David Barnes tried his hand at international competition last night in Barnsley, England and was very nearly burned for his troubles. The Manchester man went twelve-rounds with quality African visitor Ali Nuumbembe, but only showed flashes of the shrewd southpaw style that has won him the coveted Lonsdale Belt this year. Barnes' domestic title wasn't at risk here but the twenty-four-year-old was attempting to add the WBO International strap to his trophy case. Nuumbembe, well known from many appearances in the UK, was having none of it however as his sharp right counters caused Barnes much concertation, reducing him to a largely hesitant, cautious performance.
The Englishman, 17-1 (9), has little time to get his house in order as next month brings with it the British title challenge of former Welsh amateur standout Bradley Pryce. The rangy Pryce has improved of late as the former Enzo Calzaghe trained product picked up a much needed victory over Sergey Styopkin after many had written him off as a failed prospect. With his prized domestic standing at stake, expect David Barnes to refine his ringcraft and carry the day against the game but just short of enough efforts of Pryce.
Richard Eberline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org