Barker ready for battle at the Colosseum

Hennessy Sports7th May, 2009

"Dazzling" Darren Barker believes he'll prove his Gladiator status at the Watford Colosseum on May 23rd when he defends his Commonwealth Middleweight title against Darren McDermott.

The unbeaten Barnet man will make the fourth defence of his title on what is practically home ground live on ITV4 on the next Hennessy Sports event. McDermott, the "Black Country Body snatcher" believes he'll prove too strong for the champion but Barker has shrugged off that prediction.

"It makes me laugh when people say they're stronger than me because they get a big shock when they actually get in there," said Barker. "People think that because of my amateur pedigree and my boxing ability that I'm primarily a boxer and I don't like to fight. They assume that I'm not physically strong but once they get in there with me they find out just how strong I am.

"I've sparred big strong Super Middleweight World Champs like Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler and had no problems with them so how is McDermott's strength going to be an issue. I can guarantee him that I certainly won't be backing off in that ring."

McDermott has just one defeat on his 18 fight professional record. That came when he was stopped on a cut in an unsuccessful challenge for the British title last year and the Dudley native is considered by some to be the dark horse of the middleweight division. Barker though says he hasn't seen anything to concern him.

 

"I've watched McDermott's last three fights and no disrespect to him but I don't believe he's boxed in the same class as me. I've always believed that sport is all about leagues and I'm in a much higher league to him. That doesn't mean I don't respect him because I do and I'm training hard for the fight but I simply believe I'm a level above him.

"He's a solid fighter and I'm not underestimating him but I see myself winning either by a wide unanimous decision or a late stoppage."

The fight is doubling as a final eliminator for Matthew Macklin's British title but Barker believes his status as Commonwealth Champ should have secured him a shot at the Lonsdale belt already.

"It's been frustrating because I won the Commonwealth title in 2007 and I've made a couple of straight defences so I think that should have merited a straight shot at the British title. McDermott's already had his shot and ok, he had a bit of bad luck getting cut but I believe that as Commonwealth Champion I deserved to be the mandatory for the British title without having to go through an eliminator.

"In fact I should have had one long before now because if you ask me Macklin's jumped the queue as well. What's done is done though so now that the fight's been made I'm well up for it. It's a good chance for me to fight near home and I'm 100% going to take care of McDermott."

A win over McDermott would finally secure Barker a shot at the British title and he says he's desperate to get his hands on a Lonsdale belt. 

"I think a fight with Macklin would be massive and it's one that the public really want to see. Boxing fans are already talking about it and I can't wait for that one to come around but I have to focus on getting past McDermott first."

Barker is expecting his fan club to turn up in numbers on the 23rd and with the venue fast approaching a sell-out he's looking forward to putting on a real show. "It's pretty much a local venue for me so I know I'll have great support there and I'll be looking to send them all home happy."

Barker's clash with McDermott headlines a fantastic night of championship boxing at the Watford Colosseum. In the chief support bout Matthew Thirwall and George Hillyard will battle it out in what promises to be a thrilling Southern Area Middleweight title clash (subject to Board approval) while undefeated heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury will have his sixth pro fight.

Light welterweight contender Nadeem Siddique also features alongside hot prospects Bradley Evans, Steve O'Meara, Steve Barnes and the pro debut of  Phill Fury. Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.

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