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Barker to take on Geale in world title showdown

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Darren Barker

Darren Barker

DARREN BARKER has been handed a second chance to get his hands on the world title which he so desperately craves after it was confirmed that he will fight Australian Darren Geale for the International Boxing Federation middleweight belt in August.

The boxer from Barnet, who was beaten by Argentinian superstar Sergio Martinez in his previous world title bout two years ago, impressed in his last outing at Wembley Arena in March as he stopped Italian Simone Rotolo to claim the IBF Inter-Continental title.

Promoter Eddie Hearn announced following the fight that he was hoping to secure Barker a world title shot in the summer – and he has managed to achieve this by lining up the showdown with the defending IBF champion Geale at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, on August 17.

“This is a golden opportunity for me, and I feel that it is really my chance to shine,” said former British, European and Commonwealth champion Barker. “It has been a tough journey for me, but I am one fight away from realising my dream and becoming a world champion.

“I’ve dedicated my entire life to this sport and, since the Martinez fight, I really feel like I’ve grown as a fighter. I can’t wait to bring the IBF world title back to the United Kingdom.”

The defeat against Martinez is the only loss in Barker’s 26-fight professional career, and Hearn is confident that he will go one step further and become a world champion this time around.

“Not everyone knows that story about Darren, but those who do know it understand when I say that few deserve this more,” he said. “This is the fight that Darren wanted so badly, and now he’s got it.

“This is going to be a wonderful fight between two incredibly gifted middleweights. It’s a pure 50-50 contest and I know that Darren is going to bring it home.”

The fight will see five-time defending champion Geale make his American debut, and he insists that he is not fazed by the prospect of his showdown with Barker.

“He has to be one of the toughest opponents I’ve faced on paper,” the Australian said. “But I’ve been in the ring with world champions, and it remains to be seen whether he can offer up anything extra.”

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