|Height||6 ft 0 1⁄2 in (184 cm)|
|Reach||73 in (185 cm)|
|Born||19 May 1982|
|Wins by KO||16|
Darren Barker (born 19 May 1982) is a British former professional boxer who competed from 2004 to 2013. He held multiple titles at middleweight, including the IBF title in 2013; the Commonwealth title from 2007 to 2009; the British title in 2009; and the European title from 2010 to 2011. As an amateur, Barker represented England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and won a gold medal in the light-welterweight division.
Barker started his boxing career at a young age, he trained at Finchley and District Amateur Boxing club in New Barnet where he was trained by Jimmy Oliver (father of former European Champion Spencer Oliver) amongst others. After a successful and long period at the club, Barker decided to move on to further his boxing skills and begun training at the Repton Boys Club in Bethnal Green, there he was trained by the highly regarded boxing coach, Tony Burns. Darren's father, Terry, was also a successful amateur boxer at Repton, winning the ABA Championships in 1981. In 2002 Barker won the Commonwealth Games Gold medal at the championships held in Manchester. He also became a Multi nations Champion and Class C NABC Champion. Prior to the decision to turn professional Barker's amateur record stood at 68 fights, 55 wins and 13 losses.
Barker's first outing as a professional took place on 24 September 2004 with a fight at the Ice Arena in Nottingham defeating journeyman Howard Clarke. He next fought on 12 November 2004 at the Conference center in Wembley stopping David White in the 2nd round ensuring that his debut year as a professional was an unbeaten one.
Throughout 2005 Barker fought on five more occasions winning each time and then kept busy in 2006 with another seven contests winning all of them. One notable contest during that year took place on 15 September 2006 and was for the Southern Area Middleweight title with Barker beating Hussein Osman at the Alexandra Palace in Wood Green. Other notable victories that year included wins over Danny Thornton in May and Paul Samuels in December. A successful start to his career was then violently curtailed when on 10 December 2006 Barker received the news that his brother Gary, also a boxer, had been killed in a car accident. Following the accident Darren decided to take a break from boxing eventually returning to the ring on 5 October 2007 with a win over Greg Barton at the York Hall.
On 14 November 2007 Barker fought for his first major title, the vacant Commonwealth Middleweight belt. His opponent, the undefeated Australian Ben Crampton had won 20 fights to date with only one draw. Barker won the fight at the York Hall by unanimous decision over 12 rounds to lift the title. His first defence saw him beat former British & European title challenger Steve Bendall with a seventh round stoppage. Barker then travelled to Canada in August 2008 and beat local man Larry Sharpe, a former Canadian champion and Commonwealth challenger, in a non-title fight over 10 rounds. On 13 December 2008, Barker defended his title for the second time against Northern Ireland's Jason McKay forcing him to retire at the end of round six. Barker's third defence of the title took place on 23 May 2009 against Dudley's Darren McDermott in a fight which was also billed as a British title eliminator. The fight which was held at the Watford Colosseum ended with a fourth round stoppage for the champion.
On 28 November 2009 Barker defeated Danny Butler, at the Brentwood Centre in Brentwood to lift the vacant British Middleweight title with the fight also doubling as a fourth defence of his Commonwealth crown. The original opponent for the fight Wayne Elcock, a former champion, had withdrawn due to a stomach virus meaning that Butler had come into the contest at short notice. Barker's class showed, and the referee called a stop to the fight in round 7 deciding that Butler, who had recently lost to Darren McDermott in a challenge for the English title, was in no position to continue.
On 9 April 2010 Barker claimed the European title with a unanimous points victory over Affif Belghecham of France. The shot at the European belt was unexpected following the surprise vacating of the title by previous holder Matthew Macklin who had hopes of pursuing World title ambitions. The fight against Belghecham, the reigning French and EU champion, proved to be the toughest of his career so far with the Frenchman pushing Barker all the way. Barker, now the holder of three championship belts, decided to vacate the Commonwealth title and set his sights upon defending the British and European belts against Matthew Macklin, whose world title ambitions did not materialise, later in the year in an eagerly anticipated fight dubbed the 'Battle of Britain'. The fight was to be one of the showcases of Frank Warrens 'Magnificent Seven' boxing event to be shown live on SKY PPV on 18 September 2010. The fight however had to be called off following the re-occurrence of a hip injury whilst sparring for the contest meaning that Barker had to pull out of the contest and relinquish the title. Barkers trainer Tony Sims said of the decision to pull him out of the fight "Everyone knows he had a hip operation a few months back and the day before yesterday (31 August 2010) he broke down for a second time. A few weeks ago is when it first happened I gave him five days off, but it went again this week midway through when he was sparring Danny Cadman...He asked for a few more days off but how long do you keep doing that for?." Barker's would be opponent Matthew Macklin eventually won the now vacant title fight following a 6th round win over Georgia's late replacement Shalva Jomardashvili.
Two-time European champion
On 1 May 2011 Barker regained the now vacant European middleweight title with a points win over Italy's Domenico Spada at the Olympia in London after over 12 months away from the ring. The Londoner was declared the winner after the judges scored the contest 115–113 and 116–113 after 12 rounds. Prior to the fight Barker spoke of his excitement at returning to the ring following his hip injury saying "I'm really excited about it and eager to show the general public what I'm made of" he added "training has gone well. [I've] been out for a year now, and I'm really looking forward to getting back in there." The fight also represented Barker's first outing with his new representatives Matchroom Sport after splitting from long time promoter Mick Hennessey, Barker described teaming up with Barry and Eddie Hearn at Matchroom as the "best thing to do" and said that he felt moving promoters would "benefit my career."
Middleweight world title attempt
On 1 October 2011 Barker fought Argentinian Sergio Martinez for the WBC Diamond Middleweight title at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Martinez, in his previous encounters, had worked his way up to third in the pound for pound world rankings with victories over the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Paul Williams and Sergiy Dzinziruk. The fight resulted in another successful defence for Martinez as Barker suffered a first career defeat with an 11th-round knockout.
On 9 March 2013, Darren Barker began a comeback by facing off against Italy's Simone Rotolo (34-3, 15 KO's) for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Middleweight Title in the Wembley Arena in London. Barker scored a first round knockdown and went on to win the title as Rotolo retired with an injured hand in the fourth round.
IBF middleweight champion
On 17 August 2013, Barker challenged Australian Daniel Geale for Geale's IBF Middleweight world title. Despite being knocked down by his Australian opponent in the sixth round by a vicious body shot Barker battled back and won his first world title taking a split decision victory.
First title defence
In early Autumn 2013, it was announced by Eddie Hearn that Barker's first defense of the IBF Middleweight Title would be against veteran German boxer Felix Sturm at the Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Germany on 7 December 2013. Felix Sturm dropped and felled Barker twice in the second round before his corner threw in the towel, Barker having dislocated his hip from the first knockdown. Following the fight, Barker spoke about retirement due to a recurring hip injury, for which he had received surgery a few years earlier, and eventually in 2014 he announced his retirement from boxing.
Professional boxing record
|28 fights||26 wins||2 losses|
|28||Loss||26–2||Felix Sturm||TKO||2 (12), 2:09||7 Dec 2013||Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Germany||Lost IBF middleweight title|
|27||Win||26–1||Daniel Geale||SD||12||17 Aug 2013||Revel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US||Won IBF middleweight title|
|26||Win||25–1||Simone Rotolo||RTD||4 (12), 3:00||9 Mar 2013||Wembley Arena, London, England||Won IBF Inter-Continental middleweight title|
|25||Win||24–1||Kerry Hope||TKO||4 (12), 1:03||8 Dec 2012||London Olympia, London, England|
|24||Loss||23–1||Sergio Martínez||KO||11 (12), 1:29||1 Oct 2011||Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US||For The Ring middleweight title|
|23||Win||23–0||Domenico Spada||UD||12||30 Apr 2011||London Olympia, London, England||Won vacant European middleweight title|
|22||Win||22–0||Affif Belghecham||UD||12||9 Apr 2010||Alexandra Palace, London, England||Won vacant European middleweight title|
|21||Win||21–0||Danny Butler||TKO||7 (12), 0:47||28 Nov 2009||Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, Essex, England||Retained Commonwealth middleweight title;|
Won vacant British middleweight title
|20||Win||20–0||Darren McDermott||TKO||4 (12), 2:30||23 May 2009||Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, Essex, England||Retained Commonwealth middleweight title|
|19||Win||19–0||Jason McKay||RTD||6 (12), 3:00||13 Dec 2008||Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, England||Retained Commonwealth middleweight title|
|18||Win||18–0||Larry Sharpe||UD||10||15 Aug 2008||River Cree Resort & Casino, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|17||Win||17–0||Steven Bendall||TKO||7 (12), 1:54||22 Feb 2008||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, England||Retained Commonwealth middleweight title|
|16||Win||16–0||Ben Crampton||UD||12||14 Nov 2007||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, England||Won Commonwealth middleweight title|
|15||Win||15–0||Greg Barton||TKO||3 (4), 1:14||5 Oct 2007||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, England|
|14||Win||14–0||Paul Samuels||KO||1 (8), 1:58||8 Dec 2006||Goresbrook Leisure Centre, London, England|
|13||Win||13–0||Ojay Abrahams||RTD||2 (4)||24 Nov 2006||National Ice Centre, Nottingham, England|
|12||Win||12–0||Hussain Osman||PTS||10||15 Sep 2006||Alexandra Palace, London, England||Won British Southern Area middleweight title|
|11||Win||11–0||Conroy McIntosh||TKO||7 (8)||12 Jul 2006||York Hall, London, England|
|10||Win||10–0||Danny Thornton||KO||6 (8), 1:26||12 May 2006||York Hall, London, England|
|9||Win||9–0||Louis Mimoune||TKO||2 (8), 2:51||17 Feb 2006||York Hall, London, England|
|8||Win||8–0||Richard Mazurek||PTS||8||20 Jan 2006||York Hall, London, England|
|7||Win||7–0||John Paul Temple||TKO||6 (6), 0:31||2 Dec 2005||National Ice Centre, Nottingham, England|
|6||Win||6–0||Dean Walker||PTS||6||16 Jul 2005||Prince Regent Hotel, Chigwell, England|
|5||Win||5–0||Ernie Smith||PTS||6||9 Jul 2005||National Ice Centre, Nottingham, England|
|4||Win||4–0||Andrei Sherel||TKO||3 (6), 0:47||10 Apr 2005||Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, England|
|3||Win||3–0||Leigh Wicks||RTD||4 (6), 2:00||26 Mar 2005||Hackney Empire, London, England|
|2||Win||2–0||David White||TKO||2 (4), 2:37||12 Nov 2004||Wembley Conference Centre, London, England|
|1||Win||1–0||Howard Clarke||PTS||6||24 Sep 2004||National Ice Centre, Nottingham, England|
- BBC "Gold for Barker in Manchester". BBC. 3 August 2002. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Darren Barker professional record. Boxrec. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BBC Sport | Boxing mourns death of young star. BBC News (18 December 2006). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BoxingNewsAndViews. ""Dazzling" Darren Barker Retires - A Tribute To His Career And Legacy". Boxing News and Views. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- Barker wins Commonwealth title. Fox Sports (15 November 2007). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Barker impresses on Canadian debut. The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Darren Barkers Official Website. Dazzlingdarrenbarker.com. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BBC Sport | Barker crushes McDermott ambition. BBC News (23 May 2009). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BBC Sport | Barker far too good for Butler. BBC News (29 November 2009). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Boxing News | Barker lands Euro title shot. Boxingnewsonline.net. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Darren Barker wins European belt. Fight Franchise (9 April 2010). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Martin Murray has sights set on commonwealth title. Liverpool echo. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Barker and Macklin all set for September showdown. The Mirror (18 July 2010). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Boxing News | Darren Barker and Tony Sims on the Macklin fight pull out. Boxingnewsonline.net. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BBC Sport | Macklin to face Jomardshavili for title. BBC News (3 September 2010). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BBC sport | Darren Barker regains European title on ring return. BBC News (30 April 2011). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BBC Sport | Barker excited about Olympia bout. BBC News (26 April 2011). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- Barker eyes a big match. The Express (28 April 2011). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- BBC Sport | Barker knocked out by Sergio Martinez in WBC title fight. BBC News (2 October 2011). Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- "Boxing: Darren Barker becomes IBF world middleweight champion after defeating Daniel Geale by a split decision in Atlantic City". The Independent. 18 August 2013.
|Regional boxing titles|
Title last held byJohn Humphrey
| British Southern Area
15 September 2006 – November 2006
Title next held bySteve Ede
Title last held byHoward Eastman
14 November 2007 – April 2010
Title next held byMartin Murray
Title last held byMatthew Macklin
| British middleweight champion|
28 November 2009 – April 2010
| European middleweight champion
9 April 2010 – 3 September 2010
Title next held byMatthew Macklin
| European middleweight champion
30 April 2011 – September 2011
Title next held byGrzegorz Proksa
Title last held byDominik Britsch
| IBF middleweight champion
9 March – 17 August 2013
Won world title
Title next held byEamonn O'Kane
|World boxing titles|
| IBF middleweight champion
17 August 2013 – 7 December 2013