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Boxing: KIDS RING THE CHANGES.

Byline: STEVE ROYCE

TWO of British boxing's best young prospects had to make terrible sacrifices to chase their dreams.

Matt Macklin had to leave a law degree to turn professional and David Barnes had to go AWOL from the army.

Macklin is just 20 and is unbeaten in seven fights, including six knockouts. Back in 2001 he decided to quit his degree course at Coventry University when an offer came from Frank Warren to fight as a pro.

"I know I can go back to the law course at the end of my career," said Brummie Macklin. "Boxing can be a dangerous game in the ring and a treacherous one at the negotiating table. I have a good brain and that will help me in the ring and later in the legal business."

At the same time as Macklin was turning his back on the bar Barnes was turning his back on his barracks at Aldershot. He went AWOL from the 7th Parachute Regiment when he was refused permission to turn pro.

"My girlfriend was pregnant and I needed the extra cash," said Barnes. "I was told I had to finish my years and I just decided it was time to leave."

In 2001 the AWOL para turned pro. He won his first seven fights before the army caught up with him and he had to serve seven weeks at Colchester barracks.

Barnes returned to the ring last September and is now unbeaten in 10 fights - and at 24 Warren believes he is ready for a title fight.

"David has had his problems in the past but they are thankfully behind him and there is a bright future ahead of him in the ring," claimed Warren.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2003
Words:286
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