It’s Barker v DeGale - but only in the gym!

COMMONWEATH middleweight champion Darren Barker versus Olympic gold medal hero James DeGale is the intriguing clash that took place in a Hainault gym last week. They swapped punches at trainer Tony Sims TBS Gym, where former Repton boxer Barker is prepari

COMMONWEATH middleweight champion Darren Barker versus Olympic gold medal hero James DeGale is the intriguing clash that took place in a Hainault gym last week.

They swapped punches at trainer Tony Sims TBS Gym, where former Repton boxer Barker is preparing for his Commonwealth title defence against Dudley's Darren McDermott in Watford, on May 23.

With Beijing hero DeGale, who trains at Loughton under Jim McDonell, preparing for his second pro fight on May 15 at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, it proved an ideal session.

Also providing the sparring help for Barker at the TBS Gym last week, was Irish middleweight Darren Sutherland who took bronze in Beijing, where he was beaten by DeGale.


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The Commonwealth champion, while admitting the pair supplied some "good sparring sessions," would not split the rivals when it came to pro potential.

"Both have a lot of ability and should adapt to the pro game well," said Barker, whose clash with McDermott is a final eliminator for the British middleweight crown.

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DeGale appears on the undercard of the May 15 Frank Warren promotion in Belfast, which is topped by local favourite Martin Rogan's Commonwealth title clash with Sam Sexton.

Newham gym-trained Billy Joe Saunders, coached by east Londoner Jimmy Tibbs, is also booked for a bout on the undercard of the Belfast show with third ex-amateur star Frankie Gavin.

Warren's three bright prospects are also due to appear at the O2 Arena promotion in Docklands next month, when Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight duel with titleholder Andriy Kotelnik is the main event.

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