The Washington, D.C. area has produced several pro boxing stars, including Hall of Fame boxers Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson and Sugar Ray Leonard. The latest boxing sensation to come out of the district is Lamont Peterson, current International Boxing Federation light welterweight champion.
But even among all the greats, D.C. has never seen a boxer do what Southeast native Ty Barnett has accomplished.
Barnett, 31, is the first boxer from the Washington area to not only box but also promote his own fights. In a role that takes just as much business savvy as it takes boxing skills, Barnett has had his challenges. But since establishing his own promotions company, Top Flight Productions, Barnett says his boxing career and overall outlook on life has been revitalized.
“It’s been the highlight of my career so far and we’re only getting stronger and stronger with every event,” said Barnett, who owns a 22-3 career win-loss record as a pro. “It’s definitely been a learning experience for me. But I’ve gained a lot of experience in the boxing industry throughout my seven-year career and it has helped me make the best of my business so far.”
Barnett’s first fight under his own promotion company was on June 2013 at the D.C. Convention Center. It was the first match for Barnett since losing perhaps the biggest match of his career to Filipino boxer Mercito Gesta at Las Vegas in 2012.
Barnett went on to dominate his first promoted event, beating Norfolk, Va. native Stephen Alexander with a technical knockout win in the sixth round. Since then, Barnett’s promotion company has produced two more events, including one of Barnett’s own fights at the Convention Center. He won that fight, too, with a unanimous decision over 33-year-old Nicaraguan boxer Carlos Winston Velasquez in October 2013.
Barnett is now preparing to promote his fourth event, scheduled for May 31 at the Convention Center again. The event will feature Barnett as the main card, along with pro lightweight boxer Mark Davis and light middleweight pro Larry Recio on the undercard.
“Floyd Mayweather Jr. Oscar de la Hoya. Bernard Hopkins. Those legends set the blueprint in terms of ownership and promoting our own fights,” Barnett said. “I’m on a much smaller scale but they’ve definitely inspired me to attack the business side of boxing with the same aggression I use in the ring.”