Darren Barker has thanked fight fans for the ‘overwhelming response’ after his fantastic performance in his fight with middleweight king Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City on Saturday night.
The 29 year-old returned to England on Monday after he announced his arrival at World class Middleweight level by taking the fight to the Argentine and answering a number of critics with a fantastic performance before Martinez dug deep to finally get on top in the 11th round and end Barker’s dream.
“The number of messages I’ve received on my phone and on Twitter has been overwhelming,” said Barker. “Everyone has been incredibly supportive and the support that I have had from the amazing British fans, along with my family and my team, has eased the pain.
“I’m still devastated by the defeat as I felt great in camp, in the changing room and in the ring and even though I was written off from day one – we all believed we could do it.
“After eight rounds I felt so in control and felt I had the beating of him. I knew it was tight but knew I would need to win the last few rounds to be in the mix so tried to do so and came unstuck. I could have survived and lost on points but that's not what I'm about and that's not what boxing is about. I'm looking forward to the rest and hopefully we can manufacture another shot in the New Year.”
Barker’s promoter Eddie Hearn says work will begin right away on Barker’s next step and he hopes to capitalise on the Londoner’s big night in Atlantic City to get him another bite at a major title.
“It was just an incredible performance,” said Hearn. “Nobody gave Darren a shot. I would say it was at times disrespectful but when you look at the task, he was putting it on the line against one of boxing's all time greats and matched him on so many different levels.
“Darren came to win and that's what eventually lead to the stoppage. He tried to WIN, not survive and we should all embrace that. Darren would have beaten any Middleweight in the World but Martinez. He is a credit to himself, his family and this wonderful sport, he is the reason Matchroom returned to boxing and I am so proud to be his promoter.
“The real work starts now. He has made a huge name for himself and I will get him another shot in 2012 but for now we should get behind him for putting it all on the line.”