• Middleweight

Barker to defend IBF title against Sturm

ESPN staff
October 2, 2013
Darren Barker saw off Daniel Geale in Atlantic City in August © Getty Images

IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker will make the first defence of his belt against Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on December 7.

Despite being knocked down in the sixth round, Barker saw off Daniel Geale by split decision to claim the title in Atlantic City in August. Geale had previously defended his belt against Sturm in Germany in 2012.

Barker's promoter Eddie Hearn admitted negotiations between the two camps had been occurring since Barker's win over Geale and also revealed the Brit could potentially fight Sturm in London.

"We have been in discussions with Felix Sturm's team since the Daniel Geale fight, and with purse bids approaching they made their intentions quite clear," Hearn said.

"Felix is the fight we want both financially and from a legacy perspective and once we were able to introduce our necessary demands, which included a potential second fight in the UK and neutral officials, then this was an opportunity Darren could not turn down.

"Even though defeat would lead to an immediate rematch in London, we are all confident that Darren will defend his title in style on December 7 in Germany."

Sturm fought Sam Soliman in an IBF title eliminator on February 1 and, while the bout was originally won by Soliman, the decision was later changed to a no contest after the Australian returned positive for an illegal stimulant.

With Soliman banned for nine months, Sturm is the closest challenger to Barker in the IBF rankings.

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