MATTHEW Barney is aiming to prove age is no barrier in boxing as he fights for the Southern Area title – 14 years after his first crack at the belt.

Southampton’s former world champion is making a surprise comeback at title level at the age of 38 after being offered the chance to fight for the prestigious super middleweight strap in Swindon on March 9.

His opponent will be Kelvin Young, the man fellow Southampton fighter Tony Hill stopped so impressively to inflict only the second defeat of his career.

Barney first fought for the Southern Area title in 1999 and has been out of the ring for a year but is confident he can grab his shock chance with both hands.

“I did some training over Christmas and went up to London to see my manager to sign a new contract and was just asked there and then if I would take this fight,” said Barney.

“Of course I said yes straightaway. I think I’m always good enough to fight for a title and now I’ve got to get myself fit enough to win it.

“My achievements and title fights in the past have been at a higher level but fighting for any title is good for me.

“I’m 38 now and it was 14 years ago that I first fought for it so it’s nice to have another go at it.”

That first fight was against Paul Bowen and ended in a draw.

Barney did win it the Southern Area super middleweight title the following year and, remarkably, the fight in Swindon next month will be his eighth for this particular belt.

His record thus far is split with three wins, three defeats and one draw.

This time though he takes on a man 13 years his junior and has the challenge of getting himself ring ready with his boxing years advancing.

“I will still be doing the same routine I have always done,” said Barney, the former IBO Inter Continental super middleweight and WBU light heavyweight champion.

“I’m just working hard and getting stuck in.

“I don’t much about Kelvin Young. I’ve seen a couple of videos of him on You Tube including his fight with Tony Hill and he’s a nice fighter, he’s young and he’s busy but I don’t know how much he can take.

“His two losses have been stoppages and so I’m going to have to put the pressure on him and see how he handles it.

“I want to wear him down and enjoy myself really.”