Best of British as Barker takes title

CLASSY Darren Barker added the British middleweight title to his Commonwealth belt at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday night and dedicated his latest success to his younger brother Gary, who died in a car crash three years ago, writes LEN WHALEY. Bristol

CLASSY Darren Barker added the British middleweight title to his Commonwealth belt at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday night and dedicated his latest success to his younger brother Gary, who died in a car crash three years ago, writes LEN WHALEY.

Bristol's Danny Butler stepped in as a brave, late substitute for the clash, but was very much second best as Barker highlighted a bright night for east London trainer Tony Sims' busy gym, by punching out his 2lst straight pro success.

The new British title-holder is looking towards world honours in 2010 - but his long awaited showdown with Birmingham's European champ, Matthew Macklin, may have to wait, as the pair chase different routes towards international success.

Game West Country fighter Butler, may have just edged the first round on Saturday night with his high work-rate, but former Repton amateur star Barker soon took control of the clash, which became increasingly one-sided, before referee Richie Davies rightly called a halt in the first minute of the seventh round.


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Barker found the target with his pinpoint jabs and right solid hooks as the fight progressed, leaving game Butler battered and bewildered.

It looked just a matter of time before Barker claimed the coveted Lonsdale belt, as he stepped up the pressure in the fourth round, slamming home accurate punches which caused a cut across the bridge of his rival's nose.

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He continued the attacks in the rounds that followed, and out-gunned Butler was told by his veteran trainer Tex Woodward that he would only be allowed one more round in which to turn the fight around at the end of the sixth.

He didn't even get that far as Barker continued to pour on the punishment and after 47 seconds, the referee signalled it was over.

ALSO winning on the entertaining Hennessy Sports promotion, was theformer Repton amateur title winner Bobby Ward, who made it four fights unbeaten as a pro, when he outpointed Mansfield rival Pavels Sankovs over four one-sided rounds.

The talented Ward, who has won three fights since drawing his debut, zipped accurate jabs and hooks through his rival's defences to build up a clear advantage.

Sankovs showed bravery under fire to stay the full four rounds, but there was no doubting the result as referee Jeff Hinds scored Ward a winner with a 40-36 points verdict.

Another member of the Sims clan, Lee 'Lights Out' Purdy, retained his Southern Area welterweight title after Wokingham's Mark Douglas was forced to retire due a shoulder injury to end a fierce title clash.

Former star amateur Bradley Evans took a four-round win over Jon Baguley by 39-38 on the card of referee Marcus McDonnell.

However, there was disappointment for back-in-action Daniel Cadman, who looked rusty as he dropped a points verdict to Sheffield's Lee Duncan.

Sheffield 18-year-old Steve Barnes, hailed as a top prospect was shocked as he slipped to a 39-38 loss to east London-based Ian Bailey.

TKO Gym fighter Bailey piled on the punches to take the narrow points verdict and record his best win to date.

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