Barker back in London

19.01.06 - 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Darren Barker is looking forward to boxing at the home of British Boxing for the first time as a professional this Friday. The Barnet light middleweight takes on the tough Richard Mazurek over eight rounds on the undercard of the Hennessy Sports HS:BOX promotion, being covered by SKY Sports, at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, a venue he knows well..

"I boxed there at least 10-15 times as an amateur," explained the 24-year-old. "I used to fight for Repton which was just around the corner, so it’s a bit like I’m returning to my boxing home.

"I’m buzzing about it. I always did well there, its where I won my London ABA title. I always got a good following as well."

Barker - who since debuting over six rounds in September 2004 has cruised past seven opponents - is confident that he will enjoy the same level of support at the historic arena as a professional:

"It looks like there is going to be a good turnout on Friday night. This is the first time I have boxed in London for a while, so I have had a good lot of interest. My promoter Mick Hennessy has told me that I will be appearing in London regularly now. With him behind me I think we can build something quite big up as I step up the ladder."

That could be a rapid process given the obvious rate of his development. He puts a lot of this down to his respected trainer, Tony Sims.

"He has helped me develop into all round better pro," explained Barker, who has been putting in ten round sparring sessions in the gym.

"I am a completely different fighter from when I turned over. My biggest improvement has definitely been in my power and strength. As an amateur I was picking punches, scoring points, but I feel so strong now. I am looking to take people out."

His rare talent was recognised by the SKY pundits when he stopped the normally durable John Paul Temple last time out. The former amateur star is looking to put on another display for the cameras.

"I have seen Mazurek box. He is game and comes to win, so it should be a good fight on Friday," ‘Dazzling’ predicted. "He has better than a 50/50 record and has never been stopped, but I don’t think it will go eight rounds. I will finish it early."

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Article posted on 19.01.2006

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