Gary Shaw Productions in association with Grange Old School Boxing, Matchroom Boxing and Greg Cohen Productions are pleased to announce the finalization of a fight between two of the middleweight division's best and most exciting as IBF champion Daniel Geale (29-1, 15 KOs) has signed on to defend his title against highly regarded contender Darren Barker (25-1, 16 KO's). The 12-round championship bout will take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on August 17, 2013. The event will be televised live on HBO BOXING AFTER DARK® beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.
Geale is fresh off of his redemption win over Anthony Mundine in their January rematch, while Barker has won 2 in a row since his KO loss in what was a very spirited effort against Sergio Martinez. Geale acknowledges that Barker is a tough challenge, but is quick to remind everyone that he has been matched tough for the past few fights in a row. This will be the first time the Australian superstar has fought on American soil.
"Barker has to be one of the toughest opponents I've faced on paper, but I've been in the ring with world titlists and it remains to be seen whether or not Barker can offer up anything extra," said Geale. "He is a top rated fighter amongst 160 pounders, but in the middleweight division that's saying a lot because the entire division is dangerous. A guy in the top 10 at middleweight would be top 3-4 in almost any other division."
"Fighting in the United States for the first time is truly an honor." Geale continued. "I'm going to give the fans a great night of boxing while representing my country with dignity."
Geale mentioned that he hasn't thought much about a game plan for his opponent, but he will prepare accordingly. While he has yet to put together a strategy on Barker, Geale is familiar with his work, specifically against Martinez and he knows that the fighter that steps in the ring with will likely be better than the one that gave Martinez so much trouble.
"I'm going to have my hands full, that's for sure. Barker gave Martinez all sorts of fits, but he is an even better fighter now and I think he has improved a great deal since the Martinez fight. I'm not sure Martinez could beat Barker now, maybe Martinez planned on fighting Barker before he got too good? I want the fights that will give me the biggest challenges and I plan on handling Barker better than anyone has, it won't be easy but that's what I'll attempted to do," Geale said.
After suffering his first defeat to Sergio Martinez, Barker has bounced back with two consecutive knockout victories. His quest to become a world champion is ever so close and he promises to bring the title back to the UK.
"This is a golden opportunity for me and I feel it's my time to shine," Darren Barker stated. "It's been a tough journey for me but I'm one fight away from realizing my dream and becoming World Champion. I've dedicated my entire life to this sport and since the Sergio Martinez fight I really feel like I've grown as a fighter. I can't wait to bring that IBF World title back to the UK."
Gary Shaw is excited about this fight and he knows that it has huge implications for the division.
"This is a fight that separates the good from the great, the great from the elite. This division is so good that everywhere you look you see tough fights, but Daniel could've taken an easier fight, there are easier fights out there compared to Barker but Daniel wanted this fight. The winner will be in a position to be considered the best middleweight out there," Shaw said.
"It's always exciting when world class boxers accept a fight without hesitation, as was the case for this bout," said Garrie Francisco of Grange Old School Boxing. "Daniel has been keen to make a stateside debut for many years, to be defending his crown on a HBO card is the perfect beginning. A healthy sporting rivalry has existed between our countries (Australia/England) for 130 years. We would like to thank H.B.O., Gary Shaw and Eddie Hearn for their roles in cementing an opportunity to give fans a fight that will be remembered."
Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn is confident his fighter will be victorious.
"Not everyone knows the story about Darren Barker but those that do understand it when I say that few deserve this more," said Eddie Hearn. "This is the fight that Darren wanted so badly and now he's got it. This is a wonderful fight between two incredibly gifted Middleweights, it's a pure 50-50 fight and I know Darren is going to bring it home."
"HBO has been a great supporter of bringing international champions to the United States to showcase their talents. I want to thank Ken Hershman, Kerry Davis, Peter Nelson and the entire staff at HBO for being the pioneers in this area. I know Geale and Barker are very appreciative for this wonderful opportunity." Gary Shaw concluded.