Darren Barker is aiming to fight for the World Middleweight title in 2011 after signing a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport.
The unbeaten 28 year-old had a frustrating year in 2010, with injury forcing him to pull out of defending his European and British belts against Matthew Macklin in September. Barker has set his sights on regaining the European title and wants to follow that with a world title shot as he returns to Sky Sports screens.
“I’m delighted to have joined Matchroom and it's fantastic to be back on TV again – showcasing my skills on Sky Sports is where I want to be,” said Barker. “The plan is to have three fights this year – regain the European title, defend it and then get challenging for a world title before the end of the year.”
The former Commonwealth title holder returns to the ring for his 23rd fight, taking on Italian Domenico Spada for the EBU belt vacated by Macklin, with a likely date at the end of April. The Barnet fighter says he is itching to get back to boxing and is keen to draw a line under a difficult 2010 and focus on his three-fight plan.
“Last year was a nightmare really but you can't look back, I'm very optimistic for the rest of 2011 and if it all goes to plan the way we want it to, then potentially I could be World Champion at the end of the year, that's what it's all about,” said Barker. “It's a matter of taking each fight as it comes though and I'm concentrating 100 per cent on fighting Domenico Spada.”
Matchroom Sport’s managing director Eddie Hearn added: “We are delighted to welcome Darren Barker to the Matchroom Team. Darren is one of the boxing’s brightest young stars and has one of the biggest followings in the UK.
"It has been a frustrating period for him but now it's all systems go to re-capture the European title he relinquished last year and get a shot at the World title before the end of 2011 – we know he has the ability to do the business and will be ensuring he gets there as quickly as possible.”