Darren Barker has been forced to pull out of a proposed World title clash with WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog after sustaining an injury in training.
The former unbeaten European champion was set to challenge the Russian in Moscow in May in a title tilt to be announced imminently when he injured his hip in training on Friday (March 2).
An examination on the problem revealed the need for surgery, ruling the Londoner out of the proposed May clash and postponing his return to the ring until the autumn – a frustrating development in the 29 year-old's career after his brave title challenge to pound-for-pound star Sergio Martinez in October.
“I’m absolutely gutted by the timing of the injury,” said Barker. “I had been feeling good in the gym and was buzzing at the prospect of another World title fight. But I will come again after the summer, get back to full fitness and hopefully the title shot will still be there.”
Barker’s promoter Eddie Hearn added: “I'm desperately disappointed for Darren as he has been looking sharp in the gym. Pirog's promoter Artie Pellulo offered us the fight for May but we hope now to rearrange for September. We were also on the shortlist for the Chavez fight in June but have also had to rule ourselves out of contention there.”