Former IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker (26-2, 16 KO’s) has reportedly retired from boxing following his 2nd round stoppage loss to Felix Sturm last December in Stuttgart, Germany. The 31-year-old Barker suffered a hip injury in the 2nd round, which made impossible for him to fight effectively. With Barker unable to put the full weight on his injured hip, he ended up getting knocked to the canvas twice by two clubbing shots from Sturm before Barker’s corner threw in the towel to have the contest halted.
For Barker, this was his 2nd hip injury and a clear signal that it might be wise for him to hang up the gloves. Barker had a rematch clause in his contract to fight Sturm again, and he likely would have gotten a nice payday out of the fight. However, it’s possible that Barker might have had a tough time making it through a grueling training camp, and more importantly passing a physical to be allowed into the ring to face Sturm for a second time.
“I’ve been struggling with injuries for a while now and that coupled with achieving my ultimate goal, I thought it was the right time,” Barker said to Sky Sports. “I don’t think you’ll find many happier retired fighters than myself…No chance. You won’t see me in the ring again.”
It is a cruel thing for Barker to suffer the injury right now after he had just finished reaching the high point of his 10-year pro career in beating IBF 160 lb. champion Daniel Geale by a 12 round split decision last August to capture the IBF middleweight title. That was a huge win for Barker, and he showed excellent power and good boxing skills in that fight.
With Barker looking good against Geale, it was thought that he would go into Germany and defeat Sturm in front of his own fans last December. Unfortunately the injury occurred for Barker and the fight had to be halted shortly thereafter. There’s no way of knowing whether Barker could have beaten Sturm if he hadn’t been injured.
Barker challenged WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in October 2011 and gave a good account of himself before being stopped in the 11th round after getting knocked down.