• Boxing

Former world champion Barker retires

ESPN staff
January 15, 2014
An emotional Darren Barker dedicated his world title victory in August to his late brother © Getty Images

Former IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker has announced his retirement from boxing due to a hip injury.

Barker defeated Daniel Geale in Atlantic City last August, dedicating his title win to his late brother who died in a car crash aged 19.

The world title win capped a career which had seen Barker claim British, European and Commonwealth titles, as well as his triumph at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

However Barker's persistent hip injury flared up during his title defence against Felix Sturm in December, with the 31-year-old's trainer Tony Sims throwing in the towel in the second round after his fighter was knocked down twice.

Barker was expected to retire after the fight, and he has now confirmed he will not be getting back in the ring.

Darren Barker dislocated his hip in his loss to Felix Sturm © Getty Images

"I've been struggling with injury for a while now, and coupled with achieving my ultimate goal, I thought it was the right time to retire," Barker told Sky Sports.

"I wasn't feeling anything in the [Sturm] fight previous to the injury, it was usually in training camps. It was unfortunate. I don't think you'll find many happier retired fighters than myself though. I look forward to the future now.

"You won't see me in a ring again, but I hope I'll stay in the sport in some capacity. It's a mixture of my body and desire fading away. My goal was to win a world title for my brother who passed away. Once I did, a little bit of my drive and ambition faded. I'm so proud of what I achieved, winning every major title.

"It was a fantastic night, I got to share it with people close to me. It's one a lot of us will never forget.

"I thank all the fans who travelled the world supporting me, buying tickets. In football they talk about the 12th man - they were the 12th man every time I got in the ring.

"As far as my past rivals are concerned I wish them all the best. I look forward to watching my fellow countrymen do well as a fan, I'll be right behind them all."

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