Darren Barker vs Darren McDermott on May 23

08.05.09 - “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.

“Body Snatcher” bidding to rip Commonwealth title from Barker

Darren McDermott is aiming for a title hat trick in 2009. The man known as the “Black Country Body Snatcher” started the year by winning the English Middleweight title and he’s set his sights on winning the Commonwealth and British titles before the end of the year.

First up for McDermott is a shot at “Dazzling” Darren Barker’s Commonwealth title at the Watford Colosseum on May 23rd. The clash is live on ITV4 on the next Hennessy Sports event and will double as a final eliminator for the British Middleweight title. McDermott is planning on ending Barker’s unbeaten run and then heading into an all Midlands clash with newly crowned British Champ, Matthew Macklin later in the year.

“There’s only going to be one winner when I meet Barker and that’s me,” predicted the Dudley native. “I’ve watched quite a bit of him. I saw him win the Commonwealth title in Manchester as an amateur and then I saw him win the Commonwealth belt as a pro as well against Ben Crampton. He’s a good technical boxer but I just think I’ve that bit more grit and strength and I think that will make the difference.”

Despite his prediction McDermott believes that Barker represents a much tougher challenge than Midlands rival and current British title holder Macklin. “I rate Barker and I believe he’s the next best middleweight in the country after me. We’re proper middleweights but I think Macklin in all honesty isn’t a very big middleweight and I don’t read too much into his last win over Wayne Elcock.”

Macklin’s win over Elcock was a bitter pill for McDermott to swallow. The 30-year-old challenged Elcock for the British title last year only to lose out on a cuts stoppage in just the second round. It remains the only defeat of McDermott’s 18 fight pro career and is still a sore point.

“If you watch the first round you could see that I was already getting to Elcock, then I got cut and that was it. It was very frustrating and I should have got an immediate rematch. I knew whoever got in there with Elcock next was going to do a job on him and fair play to Macklin he did just that but it should have been me in there. Our fight only lasted two rounds but I could feel it in there that I was just going to be too big and too strong for him.”

McDermott’s doomed British title challenge proved to be his only outing in 2008 but he’s determined to put things right this year.

“Last year was one to forget, I only had those two rounds against Elcock and I made a New Years resolution to be a lot more active this year. I’d a good win to take the English title in February and I’d a good little warm up for Barker last month so I’m really sharp now at the moment. Training’s gone brilliant so there are no excuses. I’m feeling fantastic, my sparring’s gone well and I’m right where I want to be with my weight right now.

“I’ve been made to wait for my chance but that has only made me more determined. This is my time to shine and this is going to be a big year for me. I’m going to take the Commonwealth title from Barker on the 23rd and then I’ll beat Macklin to take the British title.”

Barker - 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 (subject to Board approval). Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via

Article posted on 08.05.2009

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