A defeat at BAMMA 5 against Mohsen Bahari saw Lee ‘Leeroy’ Barnes take the decision to step away from competitive fighting for six months giving himself time to re-evaluate his fighting career. Back and stronger than ever, Barnes steps into the cage on December 10th to challenge Jack Marshman for the Lonsdale British Middleweight title. Going into the fight with a record of 10 wins and 7 losses, Barnes is aware he is the underdog but, speaking to Graham Finney ahead of the fight, is clearly excited at the opportunity to take on one of his fight heroes. With a reputation for first round finishes, this looks to be a dramatic bout that BAMMA fans won’t want to miss.

How is training and preparation going for the fight, Leeroy?

“It’s going good thank you. I’m in a really good frame of mind and can’t wait for December 10th. We had a fire at Wolfslair Academy, so I’m training all over the place at the moment.”

Do you know much about your opponent Jack Marshman?

“I know a lot about him actually as I’ve been following his career for quite a while. He’s something of a hero of mine so to get to actually fight him is fantastic. As a boxer he has a great record of something like 17 wins and 2 losses, and I think his MMA record is 9 wins and no losses. It’s going to be tough but I think we’re quite similar, so it’s a good match up.”

You took six months out after your last appearance on BAMMA. Why was that?

“I had a lot of mental issues with my fighting which I needed to sort out. I thought everything was going great but my training, my nutrition, it all needed sorting.”

It seems like you took a lot away from your last fight on BAMMA?

“Definitely, not many people get the opportunity to do this as a job so I really needed to begin to enjoy fighting again and that is the thing about this fight; I can enjoy it because the pressure is on Jack. I’m the underdog so everyone is expecting Jack to keep his title. The pressure is on him. I can just enjoy the fight whatever the outcome.”

How different are you to the Leeroy Barnes who fought on BAMMA 5?

“I’m more confident now. I train all the time and I’m just really having fun doing this which is the most important thing for me.”

Over half of your fights have ended in under a minute. Will that be your plan for December 10th?

“I do like to come out quick and get things over with but I’m hoping we can put on a good show for the fans at BAMMA. I think we’re both well rounded fighters so I’m looking forward to challenging Jack for his title.”

What will your routine be on December 10th?

“Same as always really. I won’t do anything different. I’ll get up about 10am, have some breakfast and just generally relax. After that I’ll make sure I’m down at the venue when I need to be and just get myself ready and hydrated for the fight. I can’t wait for December 10th to come around, BAMMA is one of the best shows in Europe and I can’t wait to get on there.”

Thanks for your time. Good luck on December 10th, any message for Jack?

“I’d just like to wish him luck and thank him for agreeing to take the fight with me. Hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans and I can come away with the title.”

Tickets for BAMMA 8 at The Capital FM Arena in Nottingham are available now through www.theticketfactory.com and www.bamma.com

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