UK Boxing News: Darren Barker; Frankie Gavin; Sutherland vs Iliev; The Smiths

Darren Barker has been left raring to go in his Commonwealth Middleweight Title defence on Saturday after sparring with new WBC Super-Middleweight Champion Carl Froch. Undefeated Barker (Barnet, England) makes his second defence against Jason McKay (Banbridge, Northern Ireland) at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday 13thDecember 2008.. Co feature on the bill, Brian Magee (Belfast, Northern Ireland) challenges Steve Maguire (Glenrothes, Scotland) for the Vacant British Super-Middleweight Title, both fights will be shown live on ITV4 from 8.40pm.

The 2002 Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist is confident McKay will not wreck his plans of challenging for the European Title next year after sparring with fellow Hennessy Sports boxer Froch (Nottingham, England), who became the new WBC World Champion on Saturday by unanimously outpointing Jean Pascal (Quebec, Canada) after one of the best global fights of 2008.

“I’ve been sparring with Carl Froch ahead of this fight and I sparred with Mikkel Kessler last year,” said Barker.

“They are both World Super-Middleweight champions and they were blinding spars, and I know what it takes to get to that level.

“It was great working with Carl and there was a great buzz in our training camp at the Breaffy House Hotel in County Mayo, Ireland. I also reckon Carl has got what it takes to be the top man in that division.

“McKay is very tall and rangy so he will make it difficult for me. Andy Lee is a very good fighter and he gave Jason a hard time, but it’s hard to judge Jason on that performance because Andy can make anyone look bad. He took the Lee fight at short notice but he has had a long time to prepare for this date.

“I believe I’m going to come out on top and then I can go for a European title. Winning the European title is one of my dreams, definitely one of my short term goals.”

Barker believes he has what it takes to go all the way to the top, winning a traditional title on route to following his Hennessy Sports stable-mate Froch to world title glory.

“My long term goal is to go all the way and this time next year I would like to also have the European title in my possession,” said Barker.

Tickets are available from the Brentwood Centre Box Office on 01277 262616 or via the web


Top trainer Anthony Farnell says world amateur champion Frankie Gavin is as good as anyone he has ever worked with.

And ex-world champion Farnell includes former gym-mate Ricky Hatton in that assessment.

Gavin, 23, will make his glittering professional debut early next year after signing terms with Frank Warren.

And until then he will be working with top trainer Farnell in Manchester, as well as new sparring partners Joe Selkirk, Tony Bellew, Anthony Crolla and Steven Bell.

"Skill wise, Frankie is as talented as any boxer I've trained with," said Farnell, who has Crolla, Bellew and Bell in action this Friday at the Kingsway Sports Centre in Widnes. "I've been taking him on the pads these last couple of weeks, and while I knew before he came to my gym that he was good, I didn't realise just how good he is."

That's quite a compliment from Farnell, who first trained with Brian Hughes, then moved to Billy Graham, and has sparred with the likes of Hatton, Michael Gomez, Matt Macklin, David Barnes and Matthew Hall.

"There are a few things that Frankie needs to work on if he's going to make it as a professional, like getting more shots off and sitting down on his punches, but all the basics are there already and he's a super talent.

"Amir Khan showed at the weekend that you can punch and move as a professional and get spectacular results, and I expect to see the same from Frankie.

"I don't believe in changing fighters too much when they come to my gym, and I won't need to change Frankie.

"I remember talking to Floyd Mayweather Snr a while ago, and he told me boxing comes down to three things - keep your chin down, having a good jab and putting your hands up high.

"I might not have done too many of those things when I was a professional, but it's the first thing that I instill into the fighters in my gym.

"Frankie has got those three basics, and he's beginning to move really well too, so everything is coming together nicely.

"I'm so excited about the future because all the boxers that I work with have got the word 'champion' written all over them."


DARREN SUTHERLAND will have Georgi Iliev taped when he makes his long awaited professional debut at Dublin City University on December 18.

The Olympic bronze medallist faces the Bulgarian who knocked out Castlebar's Keith Cresham on a previous visit to Ireland in a six-round super-middleweight bout.

'Dazzler's' promoter Frank Maloney promised: "As far as his opponent is concerned, we will be getting tapes of him and studying them."

Sutherland who is training in London is currently holed up in Kent at Maloney's family home where dinner table talk is boxing, boxing and boxing.

Maloney said: "My wife puts her ear plugs in when Darren and I get talking. I don't know who talks the most.

"He has the big punch and the charisma to go all the way. He's also a likeable person and the family enjoy having him around.

"Being based in England is a big sacrifice because he loves home and his family, particularly him mum.

"But it's the only way to do things. Pro boxing requires complete dedication. You've got to give up everything really if you want to make the grade, and Darren is doing this."

Rendell Munroe's European super-bantamweight title defence against Fabrizio Trotta tops the DCU bill which will be televised live in Britain and Ireland by Sky Sports.

Kiki Martinez (19-1), who knocked out Bernard Dunne in seconds, boxes a six rounder on the undercard.

London based Irishman Martin Power (19-3); the former British bantamweight champion faces a tough test against Gary Davies (7-2-1).

In a special attraction Craig Watson (13-2) defends his Commonwealth welterweight title against Adnan Amar (22-1), a protégé of Dubliner Brendan Ingle.

A third title bout on the bill sees Jason Booth (30-5) risks his Commonwealth bantamweight crown against Sean Hughes (15-7-1).

Tickets for the big Dublin bill cost 100 Euros and 50 Euros and are available from, To order from Ireland by phone call 08 18 719300, and from UK 0871 226 1508.


Liverpool's famous boxing brothers Paul, Stephen and Liam Smith will meet with the media as they prepare to make their historic appearance on the same show for this first time this Friday (12 December) at the Kingsway Sports Centre in Widnes.

Older brother Paul, the former English Middleweight Champion, aims to get back into title contention when he takes on Belfast's Ciaran Healy, while unbeaten younger brothers Stephen and Liam take on James Ancliffe and John Van Emmenis respectively.

Article posted on 08.12.2008

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