It's Barker v DeGale - but only in the gym!

Newham Recorder 247th May, 2009

COMMONWEATH middleweight champion Darren Barker versus Olympic gold medal hero James DeGale is the intriguing clash that took place in a Hainault gym last week.

They swapped punches at trainer Tony Sims TBS Gym, where former Repton boxer Barker is preparing for his Commonwealth title defence against Dudley's Darren McDermott in Watford, on May 23.

With Beijing hero DeGale, who trains at Loughton under Jim McDonell, preparing for his second pro fight on May 15 at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, it proved an ideal session.

Also providing the sparring help for Barker at the TBS Gym last week, was Irish middleweight Darren Sutherland who took bronze in Beijing, where he was beaten by DeGale.

The Commonwealth champion, while admitting the pair supplied some "good sparring sessions," would not split the rivals when it came to pro potential.

"Both have a lot of ability and should adapt to the pro game well," said Barker, whose clash with McDermott is a final eliminator for the British middleweight crown.