By Michael Collins: Former middleweight title challenger Darren Barker (24-1, 15 KO’s) had too much power and class for the overmatched Kerry Hope (18-5, 1 KO’s) in stopping him in the 4th round at the Olympia, in London, England. Barker knocked Hope down in the 4th with a nice right uppercut and then was looking to finish him off on the ropes when Hope’s corner threw in the towel to halt the fight.
Barker looked really and showed power and an intensity that had previously been missing from his offense in the past. He was sitting down on his shots a lot more than he had in his last fight against Sergio Martinez 14 months ago in an 11th round TKO loss.
Barker battled Hope toe-to-toe in the first two rounds with both guys throwing big shots. Barker then pulled away from Hope in the 3rd round after getting his attention with some really hard right hands. Hope almost completely stopped punching as he went into the survival mode. In the 4th, Barker quickly put Hope down with two hard right hands back to back. Hope got back up to his feet but it was clear he wasn’t going to be able to take too much more punishment from Barker. Hope’s corner then wisely threw in the towel.
Barker’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport said after the fight that he plans on fighting Barker one more time in March of next year and then looking in putting him in against one of the middleweight champions.
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