Dynamite Darren’s explosive warning

DARREN BARKER fired an explosive warning to rival middleweights in general and British champion Matthew Macklin in particular, as he blasted out Midlands rival Darren McDermott at the Watford Colosseum on Saturday night. Barker, guided by east London s TB

DARREN BARKER fired an explosive warning to rival middleweights in general and British champion Matthew Macklin in particular, as he blasted out Midlands rival Darren McDermott at the Watford Colosseum on Saturday night.

Barker, guided by east London's TBS Promotions trainer Tony Sims, kept his Commonwealth crown and earned the right to challenge Macklin for the British title in a six year career.

"I know I am world class - and after I beat Macklin for the British crown I will go on to prove it," said the confident 27-year-old after his 20th straight victory.

Already on the receiving end of a string of accurate shots in every round, the durable McDermott was sent crashing to the canvas by one powerful right hand punch.


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He crashed stiffly to the floor, but gamely regained his feet and looked set to continue the clash when referee Dave Parris signalled it was all over.

n George Hillyard's pro career, launched back in 2005, faces an uncertain future after his four-round defeat by Matthew Thirlwall at the Watford Colosseum on Saturday night.

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Light-middleweight Hillyard, who had stepped up a division for the contest, proved the sharper as he took the opening rounds with fast-hitting attacks that rocked his Bermondsey opponent.

However, a short left hook, tossed by the dangerous Thirlwall, caught Hillyard on the chin and sent him crashing to the floor as the bell sounded the end of the fourth round.

He was able to climb upright and walked back to his stool, but the retirement decision came from his corner.

IT WAS a tough night for the local hopes in the latest Matchroom Prizefighter competition for cruiserweights at Earls Court last week as Mickey Steeds and Bruce Scott crashed out in the opening round of the event.

Derby-based Jamaican Ovill McKenzie collected the trophy and the �25,000 winner's cheque from Matchroom chairman Barry Hearn, but Steeds and Scott, who had both hoped to bring new life to their ring careers at the event, had their hopes dashed in their opening contests of the night.

Isle of Dogs fighter Steeds, who had failed in two British title challenges at heavyweight and cruiserweight, had predicted he would be too young and too good for the other entries, most of then 10 years older than the Docklands hope.

However, Irish entry Darren Corbett simply punched too hard and too often for Steeds who was rocked by an early barrage including a left hook which saw him slump against the ropes.

A powerful right in the second rocked Corbett as Steeds gamely tried to turn the fight his way, but the Belfast boxer hit back to extend his lead.

In the third round, Corbett earned warnings from the referee for verbally taunting Steeds, but the Irishman was confident he had done enough to take the verdict and was right.

He won convincingly 30-27, twice and 29-26 on the judges' scorecards.

Corbett celebrated the success, but it was his lone victory on the night, for he went forward to the semi-final where he was halted by eventual winner McKenzie in the second round of their clash.

Former world-title challenger Scott, like Steeds, trained at Canning Town's Peacock Gym, now aged 39, he had been out of the ring for more than three years, but certainly gave value for money in his slam-bang three-rounder with John 'Buster' Keeton at Earls Court.

Floored in the opening round, Scott gamely blasted back against a rival he had ko'd in their previous meeting nine years ago, shaking the Sheffield boxer to his boots with powerful right uppercuts.

The points were in the balance at the final bell, but all three judges voted in Keeton's favour, by a single point.

Keeton went on to upset tournament favourite Dean Francis by a first round KO in their explosive semi-final, then lost a tight points verdict to McKenzie in the final.

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