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Defiant Darren set to bounce back after defeat in the USA

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 October 2011

Darren Barker

Darren Barker

LAWRENCE LUSTIG 16,NEW ROAD, CHINGFORD, LONDON E48ET O2085294967/07831237035

Darren Barker returned home on Monday after losing to WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City on Saturday night – and is already talking of another world title shot.

Barker suffered his first defeat after 24 victories as the Argentine won in the 11th round, but the former Repton amateur gave an outstanding display against a fighter ranked with the best in any division.

The challenger, who threatened to pull off one of boxing’s big upsets in the early stages, was tiring when the champion moved in with a finishing right behind the ear and was counted out.

Barker said: “I’m extremely disappointed and gutted not to be bringing the belt back home.

“After eight rounds I felt so in control and felt I had the beating of him.

“It was tight, but I knew I would need to win the last few rounds to be in the mix, so I tried to do so and came unstuck.

“I could have survived and lost on points, but that’s not what I’m about. I’m looking forward to a rest and hopefully another shot in the new year.”

Barker’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, says work will begin right away on the fighter’s next step and he hopes to capitalise on the Londoner’s big night in Atlantic City to get him another bite at a major title.

“It was just an incredible performance,” said Hearn. “Nobody gave Darren a shot but he was putting it on the line against one of boxing’s all-time greats and matched him on so many different levels.”

Barker, written off as a no-hoper by many critics, showed no fear as he boxed well in the early stages and drew blood from Martinez’s nose in the fourth round with a good combination.

But the powerful champion came back strongly to take control and after his win praised his rival: “It was a good job by Barker. I had to neutralise his attack, I had to break him down.”


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