On The Beak admin
England’s Darren Barker boxed Italy’s Domenico Spada on Saturday, April 30 at London’s Olympia venue, Kensington. It was a bold move for Barker, who was making his debut appearance for new promoters Matchroom Sports, as he had not fought for over a year due to recovering from surgery (for a hip injury). Despite his post-fight solemnity, Barker showed little sign of ring-rust, and convincingly decisioned Spada.
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, SuperboxMMA5)
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, SuperboxMMA5)
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, SuperboxMMA5)
J.G Barrington – New York
The smaller guys took centre stage when it came to world title fights this weekend but there were a few big men making headlines, in particular David Price and Peter Quillin. Ulises Solis, Adrian Hernandez and Raul Garcia, meanwhile, all struck well in the lower weight classes.
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, Bhopisback)
Notes – Butler was supposed to represent a step-up in class for rising British prospect Price but the American was knocked down twice before the referee signalled a teekayo win. Price has now been matched with John McDermott in an eliminator bout for the Lonsdale belt. Price uses his physical advantages well and seems to have monstrous power; he’s certainly one to watch. For scorecard and round by round summary click here.
Notes – The saturated super middleweight division may have yet another contender on it’s hands as Peter Quillin looked astounding in dismantling 34-year-old Brinkley in three rounds – an opponent it took IBF Super Middleweight belt holder nine rounds to achieve the same teekayo win. Brinkley had no answer for Quillin’s acute one-twos. For scorecard and round by round summary click here.
EBU Middleweight title: Darren Barker – UD – Domenico Spada [116-113, 116-113, 115-113]
Notes – Despite being largely inactive for over a year, Barker dominated world-ranked Spada to pick up the blue European belt. On The Beak‘s Alan Dawson waxed lyrical about Barker’s performance but, whilst he did well against an awkward, game and rough-housing Spada, he will have to up his game considerably if he is to win a world title or defeat domestic rival Matthew Macklin. For scorecard and round by round summary click here. For full fight video click here.
British Featherweight title: Stephen Smith – MD – John Simpson [118-112, 115-114, 114-114]
Notes – In an England versus Scotland war, it was Smith who was (for the second time against Simpson) awarded the decision, however, the bout was far more closely-contested than the eyebrow-raising 118-112 verdict. Smith started well and looked to get Simpson out of there in the first, but ultimately, his inability to finish gassed him somewhat and consequently allowed Simpson to dominate rounds where Smith was fatigued. This one could have gone either way! For scorecard and round by round summary click here.
Flyweight: Ashley Sexton – PTS – Mike Robinson [Referee awarded win]
Notes – Highly-rated domestic product in England, Flash Ash Sexton looked far from well-honed as he struggled with Mike Robinson. The referee awarded Sexton the win after the scheduled eight rounds yet the comparatively inexperienced Robinson will have – rightly – felt aggrieved he did not at least receive the draw or win himself. For scorecard and round by round summary click here.
IBF World Light Flyweight title: Ulises Solis – SD – Luis Alberto Lazarte [116-111, 115-112, 113-114]
Notes – In a bout filled with fouls, Solis reclaimed the IBF belt at 108lbs. Justice may well have been served as the two engaged in a dirty fight late last year yet Lazarte was awarded a most contentious split decision win. Lazarte, like he did in the first bout, rabbit punched yet, unlike the first bout, came away the loser.
WBC World Light Flyweight title: Adrian Hernandez – 10th Rd RTD – Gilberto Keb Baas
Notes – Hernandez’s and Baas’ bout was a good example of an old fashioned inside brawl. Hernandez, though, had the better of Baas whenever the two engaged toe-to-toe and, in the 11th round could commence, the referee and doctor had decided Baas had taken enough punishment and awarded the Mexican the stoppage win and the WBC belt.
WBO World Strawweight title: Raul Garcia – 3rd Rd TKO – Rommel Asenjo
Notes – In his first defence of his WBO title, Garcia teekayoed Asenjo inside three rounds. The key to the victory was his tempo-setting jab and his powerful right fist that proved too strong for Asenjo as it staggered him in the second. It was a left, though, that floored him in the third. It was an easy and convincing victory for Garcia.
Alan Dawson – London
Darren Barker was unhappy with his performance against Italian spoiler Domenico Spada despite his convincing trumping of the 33-fight veteran at the grand Olympia venue in west London, England on Saturday, April 30. Barker, 28, was awarded a unanimous decision victory and reclaimed the EBU Middleweight title that he was forced to vacate due to inactivity. Barker has now targetted the world’s elite as well as a domestic dust-up with Matthew Macklin.
“I’m very happy,” Barker (23-0-0, 14ko) said to Sky Sports almost reluctantly as he was drawn between feeling pride at having the blue European title wrapped around his waist again or descending into a solemn mood due to his self-proclaimed ‘ring-rusty’ showing. “It’s [the belt] back where it belongs. I’m better than that, y’know, but I ain’t been in there [the ring] for a year.
“The ring rust crept up on me. I won’t take anything away from Spada, what a tough opponent he was. Them rounds are very valuable to me, they’re in the bank, it’s onwards and upwards now. I’ll have one more of them [a defence of his European title] then I think I’m ready to go [to world level]. It was a good twelve rounds that.”
Barker continued: “He’s a tough and experienced opponent, he found his way back in the fight. That might be where the ring rust crept in. That’s a very good twelve rounds for me though. I’ve been able to run and have been training hard. Match fitness and gym fitness are different.
“He was the first credible opponent I’ve fought. He was rated by the WBC, number six or seven whatever it is. He’s a tough contender, not at my best. I’m confident now.”
Barker was one of two major April signings by Matchroom Sports and his new promoter, Eddie Hearn, was also ringside. Hearn, however, believes Barker was far too hard on himself and claimed that, considering he hadn’t boxed for a year, his performance was highly commendable.
“I’m very pleased, more pleased than Darren!” Hearn proclaimed. “He’s a bit of a perfectionist and the first thing he said to me was ‘Y’know, I didn’t think much of that,’ and I said ‘Listen, tonight was all about getting the job done.’ He was a world class opponent, he come back after twelve months out of the ring and put in a performance like that he should be over the Moon! Tonight was all about the W [the win].”
Regarding future opponents for Barker, Hearn admitted that they are already in discussions with one of the current middleweight champions: “We’re already talking to the world champions,” he said. “Barker wants to fight Matthew Macklin and we hope something happens there so we can put on a big fight at the end of the year. We know what we’re doing with Darren. We’re taking it one step at a time, we’re talking to the champions and if that doesn’t come, we want to get him back as soon as possible, no more twelve months out the ring, we’ll get him back on Saturday Fight Night and winning and getting that world title shot soon.”
Alan Dawson – London
Darren Barker re-claimed the EBU Middleweight title after a one-sided decision victory over Italian roughhouser Domenico Spada. Londoner Barker, who had not boxed in over a year due to a recovery from an operation to rid him of a shoulder injury, appeared to be well greased as he showed no signs of ring rust. He showed good stamina, stellar combination work and made a number seven world ranked opponent look completely inferior at London’s Olympia venue on Saturday, April 30.
Judges scorecards - 116-113, 116-113, 115-113.
Fight fans had not seen Darren Barker dazzle for over a year and, even in his last fight, against Affif Belghecham, he was hardly inspiring. Barker, though, had been fighting through injury and, in his year of inactivity, had surgery in order to rid him of the troubling hip problem. The possibility of ring-rust, especially over a 12 round distance, could have been something that gave an advantage to his expressionless opponent Domenico Spada, who relinquished almost four inches of height and two inches of reach to Barker.
Barker received a football star’s reception once the ring announcer formally introduced him. It was an almost like-for-like tribute to the support that followed Ricky Hatton from the MEN Arena in Manchester, to the Las Vegas strip. Spada started with swift fists while Barker boxed loosely. The Londoner altered his posturing from a low guard to high depending on when Spada was on the front-foot or if he [Barker] was shooting from the hip. Barker used angles well and attacked the body. Spada, despite giving up a fair amount of height, had a lot of strength in his 5’9 frame.
In the second round, Spada went after the right side of Barker’s body with his heavy left hand. The Italian also found good success to the head and took confidence from his accurate one-two (sometimes three) shot combinations. Spada dominated the first minute and half yet Barker boxed his way back into contention for the round deep into the second minute. Spada, though, looked lethal with the counter.
Spada’s upper body and foot movement was jittery. Barker was at his best when using his height and reach and boxing on the outside, he kept the Roman at arm’s distance and even had Spada against the ropes momentarily. It did not take long for Spada to re-exert himself and his bursts of activity troubled the Englishman – particularly when they were head bound as Barker’s brow already looked to have swelled.
Barker settled into the fight by the fourth. His fistic variety was highlighted with powerful lefts to Spada’s chest and stiff rights to the beak. Barker never unleashed anything more than a three-punch combination as he was perhaps wary about the counter. Barker’s accuracy was enhanced the longer the fight had gone on and he had begun to make Spada miss.
Barker’s foot movement kept Spada on his toes. Instead of boxing in circles around his opponent, Barker would mix it up. As the fight entered the middle rounds, Spada seemed to lack intuition or any type of gameplan. Barker, though, maintained his… employing his fast hand speed to get away with mini flurries before either ducking or moving out of trouble.
Since a clash of heads in the third that caused a swelling over Barker’s brow, his cutman had been working frantically with the enswell to reduce any damage. Barker targetted Spada’s body with a hard punch yet the Italian replied with a five-punch combo to Barker’s breadbasket. Spada got caught with a superb head-shot midway through the sixth stanza. Thirty seconds later, Barker again landed a brace of stunning head-shots – finalised with the penetrating right that troubled Spada earlier.
The seventh was sloppier than any of the preceding rounds. Spada looked to nullify Barker’s slickness by spoiling. When he wasn’t tying-up, he swung his fists with a reckless abandon. Barker attempted to revert back to the one-two but he became frustrated with Spada’s new-found tactics. It worked for Spada, he busier and was the aggressor.
Barker re-established his jab in the eighth. And he geed up the crowd with the one-two that had been successful throughout the course of the fight. The final minute bore powerful exchanges. Barker’s usage of combinations proved he was the greater boxer in terms of technical skill, yet Spada retained a bully status. The best shot of the round was Barker’s left uppercut that landed right on the button.
Spada was out of ideas in the ninth. It was a messy round. Spada hit Barker with a good hook yet there was not much boxing of note due to the constant clinching. Barker tried to jump and fight his way out of the clinch while Spada’s arms would tighten around the Englishman’s midriff. Barker’s work-rate, considering he had been out of the ring for so long, was strong.
Despite the instruction from Barker’s corner insisting Barker box in bursts before moving away, the Londoner strung together a solid head-bound four punch combo in the tenth that was worthy of commendation.
The two and three punch flurries from Barker continued to impress, as well as his head movement, making Spada miss and generally looking the superior fighter. The only way Spada will be able to nick it is via knockout and, while Barker has received a number of blows to the head, there was no danger of him getting decked. Barker controlled the tempo and, considering he had been fighting for 33 minutes, was testament to his attitude to training following such a lengthy spell outside the ring.
The closing stanza was unattractive. The referee was required to intervene to break up clinches on numerous occasions. Barker produced another flurry to spark the crowd’s roar yet Spada may have edged the round because it was he who was forcing the round. Over the course of the fight, though, with a title on the line, Spada had not done enough.
The key factors in the fight were Barker’s boxing ability. His slick style, foot and head movement, speed of hand and his combination work. Predominantly using two to three punch flurries before moving away from danger, Barker frustrated Spada continuously. So much so, that the Italian – who is by no means a slouch in terms of ranking (he is rated 7th in the world) – appeared average in comparison and resorted to rough-house tactics, clinching and generally making himself a nuisance to Barker’s work. Barker, too, was the far busier boxer – he threw 737 shots compared to Spada’s 440 and landed 132 compared to Spada’s 78. Barker was awarded a unanimous decision, won the EBU Middleweight belt in the process, yet the tight 115-113 scorecard provided by judge Francisco Vazquez Marcos was nothing short of questionable. Barker rose to 23-0-0 with 14 knockout wins while Spada dropped to 32-4-0.
Tommy Barber – London
After a frustrating year on the sidelines due to injury, English boxer Darren Barker is in the same position he was in April, 2010 – challenging for the EBU Middleweight title. The undefeated 28-year-old, who beat Affif Belghecham to win the European strap last year but was forced to relinquish the belt because of his hip injury, now tussles with Italy’s Domenico Spada on Saturday, April 30.
Barker (22-0-0, 14ko) produced a lacklustre performance against Belghecham, however, that was primarily because he claims he was suffering from the hip problems and – with hindsight – should have had surgery prior to the fight.
In the video embedded above (credit Youtube, Boxingpreview1), an on-form Barker emphatically teekayoed Darren McDermott in a defence of his Commonwealth title in May, 2009.
If Barker is able to capture his old form, where he peppered McDermott with right hands led in with the left, then he will have every chance of once again wrapping the blue belt around his waist.
Barker, who is “bang on” weight – 160lbs, is looking to put his operation behind him and has described the encounter with Spada as a “make or break fight” (video embedded above credit – Youtube, WOODDDDDDDYAFIST6).
A win against a “live opponent” like Spada (32-3-0, 16ko) will help Barker once again climb the world rankings and the Londoner – a proud Chelsea fan with a contingent from the west London football club expected to be ringside at Olympia on Saturday – has one eye on a domestic dust-up with Matthew Macklin later in the year.
(Video embedded above credit – Youtube, RingsideIsBack2)
Tommy Barber – London
Highly-rated British middleweight champion Darren Barker will enjoy a glamorous support when he takes on Domenico Spada for the vacant European title at Olympia, Kensington, London on Saturday, April 30 as various members of nearby Chelsea Football Club will be ringside in order to cheer on a boxer who has oft used the club’s Cobham training facilities in order to improve his conditioning.
Barker (22-0-0, 14ko) returns to the ring this weekend following a one year absence as injury curtailed him of his continued progression from a domestic fighter to proven continental class. Against 30-year-old Spada (32-3-0, 16ko), though, Barker has an opportunity to pick up where he left off in April last year as he once again fights for a vacant EBU belt.
Popular Barker is looking to replicate the fandom of Ricky Hatton. The Mancunian super lightweight, a two-weight world champion, attracted legions of fans to Las Vegas during his penultimate fights and they provided a unique soccer-based atmosphere with their chants of ‘There’s only one Ricky Hatton!’
Hatton, a known Manchester City fan, transcended the red/blue divide, though, as Manchester United fans too flocked to his fights. United star striker, Wayne Rooney, even held Hatton’s world titles aloft during his ring-walk for a world title fight in 2007, against Jose Luis Castillo.
Barker, who can rely on the support of Chelsea Football Club, may also build up a similar fan-base: “Frank Lampard is coming to my fight,” he explained to the Daily Star. Lampard, one of the most consistently excellent Premier League midfielders of the last decade, will be joined by his team-mates as they are no stranger to Barker.
For past fights Barker used the club’s Cobham-based training facilities where he built up a rapport with Chelsea’s recognised star players.
The club’s fans may also further warm to Barker because of the delight he expressed earlier in the month at receiving boxing gear that was designed by Chelsea’s shirt sponsor; Adidas: “It’s an honour to represent a brand like Adidas and I’m buzzing about using their apparel and equipment for training and in my fight with Spada. The fact they are Chelsea’s kit-makers made this a dream move for me!”