By Terence Dooley
Darren Barker has brought in a strength and conditioning coach in order to prolong his career and ensure that he reaches the pinnacle of the 160lb division. The Barnet-based stylist lost a WBC middleweight title challenge to Sergio Martinez in October of last year, an 11th round stoppage after some good early work, but insists that the defeat gave him a taste for top-level boxing rather than discouraging him from vying for world title belts.
“I’ve got aching arms and legs. It is a feeling I’ve never really had before, so it is a good thing,” said Barker when speaking to BoxingScene about his recent conditioning work. “People have been doing the strength and conditioning thing for years – it is better late than never for me. It is hard, but I think this will get me that extra percent.
“The only injuries I’ve had were the two hip injuries. I had surgery on them and now they feel good. There’s no reason why I can’t have another four years in my career. I’ve not had any hard fights, Martinez was tough, but it wasn’t a war.”
Barker, 30, will fight for the first time since the Martinez reverse when headlining a Matchroom bill at London’s Alexandra Palace on September 8.
“I would love to fight for my old [EBU ] title,” said Barker. “I was proud to win it for the first time and to win it again would be fantastic. I leave that [finding an opponent] to Eddie [Hearn], he’s the guv’nor, and it is my job to roll on come the 8th of September.”
The 23-1 (14) boxer also believes that the long gap since the Martinez encounter has served to recharge his batteries rather than wither his skills. “It is frustrating, but I’ve enjoyed spending time with my little daughter,” he said.
“It is life, there’s swings and roundabouts, so there’s no point in getting upset. I still enjoy getting in the ring, there’s plenty in the tank. On September 8, I’ll be fighting just around the corner from where I live – I can’t wait.”
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