Darren Barker Realizes his Dream by becoming IBF Middleweight Champion
New DBB writer Peter Wells looks back on what was a memorable night and fight last night for Darren Barker and also looks at Kiko Martinez’ win over Romero
After years of hard work, injuries and tragedy, Darren Barker finally earned redemption in a sensational IBF Middleweight title win against former holder, Daniel Geale. Both fighters exhibited a body of work that showed off both their offensive skills and their defensive nous.
While Britain lost one World champion in Nathan Cleverly they gained a new one, when Darren Barker defeated the favoured Geale via split decision. The fight was hard to score from the very beginning, but the general consensus showed that most people had Barker narrowly ahead.
Geale started the fight the fastest, moving in and out at his usually high work rate, which Barker countered with solid jabs and straight right hands.
After 4 rounds Barker seemed to have the edge, although both were working at an incredible rate, the Barnet man seemed to be landing with the crisper shots, while blocking most of Geale’s returns on his arms.
Geale known as a hard to hit fighter proved that evaluation correct as he continually made Barker fall over the top of him when Barker telegraphed the right hand just a little too much.
In the 6th stanza the fight seemed to take a dramatic twist as Barker doubled over in pain from a perfectly placed left hook to the body. Rising at 9 Barker was still wincing and referee Eddie Cotton gave him a long examination. Geale then went looking for the stoppage, but when looking on the verge of defeat Barker fired back, forcing Geale onto the ropes in a mind-boggling round.
Barker and Geale then continued to display their credentials for the right to win each round, as scoring the bout become a fight in itself.
Barker seemed to be ending the bout the stronger when Geale pulled out a marvellous champions finish in the 12th round, coming close again to halting Barker.
For myself, Geale’s final round rally was enough for him to retain his title with a draw, 114-114.
The official scores were 114-113 Geale, 116-111 Barker and 114-113 Barker. When the final name was read out, Barker and his team dropped to the floor in sheer elation, unable to contain their heightened emotions.
Barker – 26-1(16KOs) – is now a world champion in one of the current best divisions in boxing. With rivals, Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin and obviously the British pair, Mathew Macklin and Martin Murray. A bout with any of the above would be great to watch, but there’s no doubt that fans in the UK will wish to see Darren Barker vs Martin Murray next in a Battle of Britain for the IBF Middleweight world title.
As for Australian Daniel Geale – 29-2(15KOs) -, his exciting display yet again keeps him thoroughly near the top of the division. A rematch may happen in the near future, while a potential match-up between himself and Matthew Macklin or Andy Lee would create big interest.
On the undercard Kiko Martinez stunned IBF Super Bantamweight champion Jhonathan Romero in 6 rounds. Romero was hurt several times against the challenger who continued to rush in, not caring for all the shots he was taking coming in.
Romero’s refusal to go down or hold was costly as he was mercifully saved by referee David Fields.
Although he proved people wrong, Martinez coming off the back of a defeat to Carl Frampton was questioned beforehand as to how he was awarded this shot, but he certainly took it with both hands.
Expect Romero – 23-1(12KOs) – to bounce back, with all he has been through in life it’s very unlikely this warrior will give in after 1 tough night at the office.
As for Martinez – 29-4(21KOs) – unless he is matched carefully it’s unlikely he’ll hold the title for long. His lack of a guard or head movement would leave him very vulnerable to the Super Bantamweights bigger names. With Leo Santa Cruz, Vic Darchinyan and others hounding the division as well as its elite fighters, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nonito Donaire, it’s a tough place to be for any of the other world champions or contenders.
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