By KEVIN CRAIGENS
MICHAEL BARTON watches his cousin deliver knockout blows – now he wants to help Newmains become a heavyweight.
The United midfielder is related to boxer Willy Hutchinson, who is signed to Frank Warren’s fight stable. Hutchinson first hit the headlines when he became the first Scot to win gold at the world youth boxing championships in December 2016.
The Carstairs-based light heavyweight has also impressed since turning pro, winning all six fights with four KOs. Barton, 22, is proud of Hutchinson and uses his achievements inside the ring as inspiration when he steps out on the pitch.
He said: “I go to near enough all of Willy’s fights. It’s a different sport but it does help to look and learn. I did boxing when I was younger, when I was 11 or 12 years old.
“But I don’t really do it now. When I’ve seen Willy doing well it does give me a little bit of a kick to try and get somewhere in football. In boxing you are just one man doing it yourself but in football you’re in a different situation. You still need to work just as hard within a unit though.”
United came out swinging earlier in the season but were caught with a few sucker punches until their win over Annbank United last time out. They have refused to throw in the towel and Barton insists it’s been a successful season already.
They were left to kick their heels for the second week running after the weekend clash at home to St Anthony’s was called off. The Victoria Park pitch has taken a battering from the elements recently.
Barton and the rest of his teammates will hope it has recovered in enough time for this Saturday’s game with Muirkirk Juniors (kick-off 2pm). The showdown will see a return for former United boss Kevin Muirhead, who is now in charge of The Kirk.
The Ayrshire side sit four points and two places above Newmains. Barton added: “The season so far has been a good one. We started well but then it fell apart a bit. We tried to focus on keeping the team morale up.
“A good season for us would be to finish top of the bottom half of the table. Mid-table would be a great place to aim for.”