“When you start walking to the ring, the adrenaline is pumping. You’re trying to stay calm and focused. You walk down this huge aisle and then when you get to the ring, there’s absolute mayhem around you. Then the bell rings and everything goes silent. You’re in the zone and focused on beating this person. It’s the craziest thing. It’s my addiction.” — Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes began boxing at the age of 13 on a whim.
“I needed something to do to lose weight and have fun. My best friend brought me (to a boxing gym). He did it for fun too, so I went there and fell in love with it,” said Barnes, a 2009 Berkley graduate. “Eventually, I found out I’m a pretty good puncher. That’s a gift, so I took it and ran with it.”
The Huntington Woods resident ran up an amateur record of 56-12 overall, fighting all over the country and picking up a few championships along the way.
He won the Junior National Golden Gloves, Michigan Silver Gloves and the Michigan Junior Olympics. He’s also a five-time Metro Detroit Golden Gloves champion and made it to the quarterfinals in the National Golden Gloves tournament.
In his corner
Barnes began fighting under Kronk Gym in 2007 as an amateur and continues to this day, wearing the iconic gold shorts into the ring.
He began under legendary trainer Emanuel Steward.
Steward trained 41 world champions before his death in October of 2012, including Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Thomas Hearns.
Barnes said he was the last fighter to turn pro under Steward, making his debut less than three weeks before Steward’s passing. Since then, he’s 5-0 with four knockouts as a super middleweight.
“He was my mentor, trainer. I had another trainer, Sugar Hill, who was his nephew, but if you’re a Kronk fighter, you were one of his fighters,” Barnes said. “I was really close to him. He brought me all over the country, had me boxing world champions when I was an amateur. He did a lot for us. He was like a father figure in boxing. He did so much for everybody.”
Barnes also credits his parents, Susan and Urs, for making him the fighter he is today, taking him all over the country for his amateur career.
“My family, they are my No. 1. Without them, I couldn’t do it,” he said. “My mom and dad are my biggest support base, and it’s better than I could have possibly imagined.”
Undefeated and undaunted
Barnes’ last fight was a knockout May 30 at Cobo Hall in Detroit.
His current trainer, Theotrice Chambers, called him a “boxer-puncher,” meaning he has the ability to win any decision and the power to end a fight early.
“His basic fundamentals are very good, and I think he has a very strong jab. Like I said, as far as Anthony Barnes, he can punch with both hands. He’s definitely going to be someone to reckon with,” Chambers said. “I feel good that in the next two years, he’s going to make some noise.”
Barnes said he focuses on staying patient in the ring.
“I have a few first-round knockouts. I’m aggressive, but I’m a smart fighter and try not to get hit,” he said. “In this sport, you have to be able to do it 10 years from now, so I want to be smart and pick my shots and make them count.”
Barnes said his goal is to continue moving up the rankings until he gets a title shot. He doesn’t have his next fight scheduled yet, but hopes it’s within two months.
“One of my really good friends (Adonis Stevenson), he’s the (WBC and The Ring) light heavyweight champion. I’ve watched him go through his rankings, and I’ve boxed probably hundreds of rounds with him competitively,” Barnes said. “I’m definitely there, I just need the experience.”
For more on Barnes and updates on his upcoming fights, visit www.anthonybarnesboxing.com.