YORK heavyweight boxer Mitchell Barton has signed a promotion deal with Hall-of-Famer Frank Warren after deciding to turn professional.

The 21-year-old, who lives in York, enjoyed a hugely successful career in the amateur ranks of the sport and represented Scotland at a variety of major international tournaments.

Barton has been part of the Scotland squads in three European Championships, one Commonwealth Games and one AIBA World Championships, across his time as both a youth and a senior.

Barton has twice been Scottish national champion, as both a youth and a senior, as well as having won the Great Britain youth championships and Three Nations.

More recently, Barton won the Elite Senior National Championships, becoming the first heavyweight boxer from York to win such an honour.

The 6ft 4ins heavyweight is currently trained by York legend Henry Wharton - a three-time world title-challenger during the 1990s - at his gym in Acomb.

Barton is the second fighter in Wharton’s stable to turn over with Warren - whose Queensbury Promotions company regularly hosts shows on BT Sport - after light middleweight George Davey.

And the plan set out by manager and trainer Wharton and promoter Warren is for Barton to back his professional debut in March.

“It’s a spectacular feeling,” said Barton, reacting to the announcement. “I don’t think it’s quite sunk in just yet and I’m still taking the news in.

“It’s a brilliant move for my career. I was telling my mum and dad and they were like ‘Oh my god, that’s unbelievable,’ whereas I’m still waiting for that feeling to kick in.

“But it is like a dream come true. When anybody starts boxing seriously, their goal is to turn professional and for me to do it with Frank Warren is great.

“When I first joined Henry’s Gym, the goal was to turn professional but it’s all come around that quickly.

“To be able to turn professional with a major promoter like Frank Warren is just amazing. He’s one of the major promoters not just in British boxing, but in world boxing.

“I feel very lucky and privileged to have been given this opportunity.”

Warren manages the careers of several top fighters, including former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and reigning featherweight titlist Josh Warrington.

For Barton though, he is willing to wait for such opportunities at the major arenas and stadiums and has full trust in his mentor Wharton.

“I don’t want to rush into thinking about the big shows and TV just yet,” he said.

“I’ll follow Henry’s advice and guidance. Henry has been there and done it all in his own career, so I’ll let him guide me.

“I’m just happy to be fighting, whether it’s in the O2 Arena or in Henry’s Gym.

“A fight is a fight to me and I’ll be training hard for it and taking it seriously, no matter where it is.

“Things are going brilliantly at Henry’s Gym at the minute and I wish I’d have joined the gym a long time ago,” Barton continued.

“Meaning no disrespect to my old gyms, but this is the best move that I’ve ever made.

“Not that we don’t train hard, but it doesn’t feel like a gym to me because everyone here is like family to me.

“I get on really well with all of the lads here and it’s a really good atmosphere in the gym.

“It makes me want to train harder. I train better when I’m happy.

“Some people need that dark and damp gym with their coach screaming in their face for them to train. But, for me, that’d make me switch off.

“I’m training alongside George (Davey) who is just starting out in his career and he’s currently 2-0. I get on well with George and there’s now me and him who are pro.

“There’s a few others in the team looking to go pro soon so it’s a good place to be at the minute.

“Of course, when you’re in the ring, you’re in there on your own, but it’s always good to have a strong team around you in your training.”

Barton is currently looking for sponsors to help him in his in his professional career. Phone Henry Wharton on 07415 993415.