Barker gets off the canvas to capture IBF title
Britain’s Darren Barker won his first middleweight world title with a hard fought and thrilling split decision victory over Daniel Geale.
The 31-year-old was fighting for only the third time since a stoppage defeat to Sergio Martinez in October 2011, however any residual rustiness was not in evidence as Barker matched Geale’s famed workrate from the first bell.
The key moment in the fight came in the sixth, as a perfectly judged body shot from the Australian had Barker writhing on the canvas in agony.
The former European middleweight king seemed out, but he dug deep, scrambled to his feet and was able to negotiate the final 80 seconds of the round.
Geale continued to pressure Barker through the second half of the fight, however the challenger’s preparation- which included yoga and swimming with a view to offsetting a string of career-threatening injuries- stood the Briton in good stead.
One ringside judge had Geale a 114-113 winner, whilst the other two had Barker triumphing. Scores of 114-113 and 116-111 were enough to send the Barnet-born fighter to the canvas- this time in floods of joyous tears.