Darren Barker’s trainer Tony Sims expects his man to rip the IBF World middleweight title from Daniel Geale in Atlantic City, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 2am on Sunday – sparking a run of classic all-British middleweight showdowns.
Barker takes on the Australian in his second World title challenge in the city, after Sergio Martinez stopped him in the 11th round of their clash in October 2011. The 31 year old has shaken off his old injury worries and Sims believes he’s in the perfect place to realise his World title dream.
“Mentally and physically he’s so up for it and it’s a massive opportunity for him,” said Sims. “It’s a winnable fight for him and he’s had no injuries in his preparation – I really believe it’s his destiny to win this. Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time to land major belts and that’s exactly where I think Darren is.
“Darren’s had that big fight experience in America against Martinez and he’s got that experience to call on but this is all new to Geale. He’s a good fighter, they don’t hand World titles out for nothing, but there’s pressure on him to impress in America.”
Victory for Barker would break the duck of the ‘big three’ domestic middleweights in World title challenges. Martin Murray and Matthew Macklin share five World title challenges between them and Sims says that if Barker can land the big prize, the domestic battles the fans crave could become a reality.
“He’d have mandatories to do but after that, the domestic fights are there,” said Sims. “Martin Murray is a great fight, he did brilliantly against Sergio Martinez and that’s a really big fight, Andy Lee is another good fight, Matthew Macklin has to rebuild a little bit after losing to Gennady Golovkin, you can’t jump straight back into a World title fight after a loss in another.
"There’s also some really good kids coming through like John Ryder and Billy Joe Saunders who aren’t ready to test themselves at that World level but they’re progressing rapidly - so the domestic scene is looking really good.”