Darren Barker hangs up gloves

  • Last Updated: January 15 2014, 13:37 GMT

Former IBF middleweight world champion Darren Barker has retired following a long battle with injuries.

Darren Barker: Forced to retire
Darren Barker: Forced to retire

The Londoner has decided to hang up his gloves once and for all after a long-standing hip problem flared up in his doomed first title defence against Felix Sturm last month.

Barker had achieved his childhood dream of claiming a world title with a magnificent points win over Australian Daniel Geale earlier last year only to see it snatched from him by former champion Sturm in a second-round stoppage in Stuttgart.

The 31-year-old, who dedicated his success to his late brother Gary, said: "I'm so proud and happy at what I've achieved.

"When I won my first national title as a kid I could have retired a happy boy then, so to have won all the major titles possible for me I'm a very, very happy man.

"I did this all for my brother Gary - we did it mate!

"I'm now looking forward to sitting back and being a keen fan and wishing all my fellow countrymen all the best in their careers."

Former British, Commonwealth and European champion Barker added: "I would like to thank my family for their support, without them none of what I achieved would have been possible.

"My fantastic friends and all the fans that bought tickets to my fights and travelled the country and world supporting me - I really appreciate it and thank you.

"Tony Sims constantly got the best out of me and he's more than a fantastic trainer, he's a mentor and very good friend.

"(Thanks to) Eddie Hearn and the rest of the guys at Matchroom Sport for getting me the big fights and elevating me to another level and ultimately getting me the fight that helped me realise a dream. I've also met some friends for life there."

Barker won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games before embarking on a professional career which saw him win every significant title at domestic and continental level.

A valiant effort against recognised middleweight king Sergio Martinez in 2011 ended with an 11th round stoppage defeat which nevertheless enhanced his reputation at elite level.

He seized his next world title opportunity in dramatic fashion, climbing from the canvas to beat IBF boss Geale before sinking to his knees with emotion when he was announced as the new champion.

Defeat by Sturm in December was certainly not the ideal way to bring the curtain down on a stellar career. But having considered retirement on several occasions due to injury over the years, 'Dazzling' Barker can be truly satisfied as he bows out with a world title belt on his mantelpiece.


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