Darren’s determined to lift world title in tribute
PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 August 2013
Barker in fight tribute to late brother
Darren Barker will proudly display a tattoo bearing his late brother Gary’s name across his shoulders in the ring in Atlantic City to face IBF world titleholder Daniel Geale on Saturday.
And Barker insists he will be stepping back out as champion, saying: “I will win the world title as a tribute to my brother and my family. It is my destiny.”
Gary’s name appears on the entrance at Repton’s famous Bethnal Green gym where the brothers built glittering amateur careers and his picture is above the door at the Hainault gym where his older brother has prepared for his world title bid.
It was in December 2006 that Darren celebrated a 14th straight win at Dagenham’s Goresbrook Centre, stopping Paul Samuels in one round.
His world looked very bright, but he was just 24 hours away from the darkest day of his life when Gary suffered fatal injuries in a tragic motorway accident.
The Barker boys made their names at Repton, maintaining the family tradition after father Terry won the ABA light-flyweight title for the club in 1980, the same year Frank Bruno won the heavyweight title.
And there will be solid support from the family and fans at ringside on Saturday for a fight that will be screened on Sky Sports.
“I truly believe I’m better than Geale. Whilst I would never underestimate him, I am confident I will beat him,” added Barker.
The rivals both won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester – Geale at welterweight and Barker at light-welterweight – and have both suffered a single loss in outstanding professional careers.
The 32-year-old champion starts as favourite after beating some top names on the international scene, but dropped a controversial split vote against home rival Anthony Mundine in 2009.
Challenger Barker was stopped in 11 rounds by super champ Sergio Garcia in Atlantic City in 2011, but despite injury problems has won British, Commonwealth, European and IBF international championships in an outstanding campaign.
“I’ve kept an eye on Geale’s pro career and I’m very confident,” he added. “I know what he’s all about, I know what I’m all about and I know how to beat him.”
The stylish Barker has added extra power to his boxing skills in recent fights and is making his third visit to Atlantic City. As well as boxing Garcia there he was in the corner when gym mate Lee Purdy lost to Devon Alexander in May.
For Australian Geale, it’s the first time he has boxed in America and Barker feels that could be a factor. “We are on neutral ground, but it’s territory I’m familiar with, having boxed there and been in Lee’s corner, so I feel I have a slight advantage in that respect.
“This is what it’s all about – reaching the pinnacle of your sport should be everyone’s goal and it’s my time now.”
East Londoner Tony Sims, who has guided Barker’s pro career, will be in his corner and shares the fighter’s confidence. “Geale is not noted as a puncher and I cannot see anybody outboxing Darren, he’s too good,” he said.
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