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22 APRIL 2018

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Barker Dedicates Win To His Late Brother

Darren Barker climbed off the canvas to dethrone Daniel Geale and become the new IBF middleweight champion in Atlantic City on Saturday night.


The Londoner was overwhelmed with well-wishers in the build-up to the fight, ranging from stable mate Carl Froch to domestic foe Martin Murray, and the 31 year old did not disappoint, pouring heart and soul into a brilliant contest.


Barker looked sharp in the opening rounds, hurting Geale in the third round with a crisp right but the Australian responded with a powerful uppercut which was always a weapon for the champion.


The sixth round provided a dramatic crisis point for Barker as he was stung to the solar plexus by a devilish shot from Geale sunk the Brit. He gathered himself and rose with the count at nine, and while the champion sniffed a stoppage with a minute of the round remaining, Barker dug deep to see off the attack and showed great character to fire back.


A great round for Barker in the tenth and further good work in 11 steeled him for a final onslaught from Geale, and Barker took the split decision with two judges giving him the bout 116-111 and 114-113.


“I just wanted it so much and that’s what got me through the tough times,” said Barker, who dedicated the win to his late brother Gary. “When I stuck to my boxing and kept it simple, I was winning the rounds comfortably but it was just the occasion and wanting it so much that I was loading up with big shots, but there was no stopping me because I wanted it so badly and when I was on the floor, even though I couldn’t breathe there was no way I was staying down.


“He was a lot more awkward than I thought he was going to be, he was good at getting in and out of range with his footwork. I was taking a lot of shots on the gloves with my guard up and it might have looked like I was getting hit then but I wasn’t, I was almost having a little breather in there. But the body shot completely took the wind out of me, I was gone.


“I was confident that I’d done enough and it was out of my hands, I had done my job for 12 rounds then it was up to Michael Buffer to read out the scores and find out my fate, I thought I won the fight and without the knockdown, I think it would’ve been a unanimous decision - and he got my name right too! He apologised about that beforehand which was nice of him too, so it was a great night.”



While Barker has a few days holiday in the States to come to terms with his achievement, his promoter Eddie Hearn begins plotting his next move. A clash with former champ Felix Sturm is on the table, and a rematch with Geale would be a mouth-watering prospect – and Darren’s win could light the blue touch paper and spark some huge domestic middleweight clashes.


“Martin Murray is a good bloke and me winning this belt could well set up big fights like the one with him,” said Barker. “He’s a great champion and like this fight with Geale, the boxing would do the talking, there’d be no bad blood just two honest boxers battling it out.


“For one person to say that they never wanted a Brit to win a World title as much as they wanted it for me is amazing let alone the hundreds and hundreds of messages saying that is humbling and I’m so grateful to the fans back home who stayed up and watched it.”


August 19, 2013

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