Injury blow forces Barker out of world title clash

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 March 2012

Darren Barker

Darren Barker

2007 Getty Images

Darren Barker has been forced to pull out of a proposed world title clash with WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog after sustaining an injury at trainer Tony Sims’ Hainault gym.

The former European champion was set to challenge the Russian in Moscow in May in a scheduled title tilt when he injured his hip at the local gym and now faces surgery, which looks likely to rule him out of action until the Autumn.

It’s a real blow to the 29-year-old former Repton amateur star who had been looking forward to getting back to winning form following his brave title challenge against pound-for-pound star Sergio Martinez in October last year.

Martinez handed Barker his first pro defeat when he won a gruelling title clash with an 11th-round stoppage at Madison Square Garden for the WBC Diamond middleweight belt.

With the chance of another world title fight, Barker had been training hard at the Hainault gym before the injury blow and admitted: “I’m absolutely gutted by the timing of the injury. I had been feeling good in the gym and was buzzing at the prospect of another world title fight.”

However, he insists he will shake off the latest injury blow in his eight-year pro career: “I will come again after the summer, get back to full fitness and hopefully the title shot will still be there.”

■ Audley Harrison’s scheduled return to action against London based Iraqi, Ali Adams, which headlines a Goodwin promotion at Brentwood has been put back to May 26.

The show had been scheduled for April 14, but Repton’s former Olympic hero, now 40, has suffered an elbow injury training in California and must rest his right arm for a month.

Audley insists: “I will be there on May 26 and Ali Adams has talked himself into a lot of trouble.”

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