Boxing


Barker: Woolcombe is not such Hot Stuff

02.06.06 - Standout 2002 Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Darren Barker hopes to get the opportunity to silence the believers in fellow domestic light middleweight Gary Woolcombe once he wins the British title. The undefeated 24-year-old is set to contest a final eliminator for the Championship against the winner of the July contest between Andrew Facey and Matthew Hall, so has his immediate future clearly set out.. Victory will then see him face off against either current champion Jamie Moore or upcoming challenger Matthew Macklin.

He sees no difficulty in getting through either contest, however, and is already eyeing up potential defences of the Lonsdale belt.

"Iíd love a straight shot at the title," Barker began. "I believe Iíd take Moore or Macklin right now, but its looking like I will have to fight Facey or Hall first. I havenít got a problem with fighting either; but itís going to hold me up. I think Iím way past their level already.

"Iím well above Woolcombe in the pecking order as well, but because of the talk around him I want to fight him. Iím not going to look for that at the moment because it would be a backward step, but Iíll wait for him to come through and then hope he can challenge me for the British."

Woolcombe won the Southern Area Title on Sky last week by stopping Gilbert Eastman in what many believed were controversial circumstances. Barker fully admits that the praise the Welling man received that night is partly his motivation for wanting to face him.

"Iíll be honest, watching that fight and hearing the commentators talk about Woolcombe wound me up," added Barker. "Iím not being funny or trying to big myself up, but I donít think heís any good. Heís had over 20 fights now and he looks like a raw novice. He boxes like a kid. Iíd bash him up.

"I thought he put in an average performance against Gilbert. He did what I expected, nothing spectacular. He is the sort of the fighter I look way past. But I will give him his chance if he keeps on winning; Iíll happily give him a voluntary so that I can show how wrong his believers are.

"Boxingís a selfish sport and I want to be the star attraction in my division. I will admit that if I see anybody else in my division doing well, I donít like it. I donít let myself get too annoyed by it all though, I know that in the end I will get to prove myself by beating these guys.

"Another one I wouldnít mind down the line is Anthony Small. Iíd knock him and Woolcombe out on the same night. They were both snide amateurs and now they are both snide proís."

If Barker, who has had just ten fights, does get the chance to meet Woolcombe, he believes it wonít just be his opponentís undefeated record that he will take.

"I see he calls himself ĎHot Stuffí and walks to the ring with a few girls," he continued. "Iím not sure what thatís all about, I think heís been battered with the ugly stick. After I finish with him he will be even uglier. And I tell you one thing, if we do fight, those birds will be asking to leave the ring with me."

Barnet Boy Barker already has some female fans of his own. He has also recently been the recipient of some gay fan mail to the Hennessy Sports website.

"Iíll take any admiration I can get," confessed Barker, trained by Tony Sims. "But thatís all Iíll be taking from my male supporters. Good luck to them, but thatís not my thing! In all seriousness, Iím settled for life with my girlfriend. Iím not interested in any outside attention, male or female, although itís flattering."

His home-life dovetails in nicely with his dedication to the sport. This dedication is starting to pay dividends, as particularly demonstrated when he spectacularly knocked out Danny Thornton after six impressive rounds in May.

"I was really pleased with the way I boxed," he appraised. "I thought it was a more mature performance from me. It wasnít rushed at all. I felt in there that I could have done ten rounds easy. Thanks to Tony, I was the fittest I have ever been in that fight, all my hard training is starting to pay off.

"He was two divisions heavier than me, so I was very pleased to get the finish and perform the way I did. And there is still plenty in me. I knocked out a super middleweight but its not like thatís the best I can do.

"I needed some rounds under my belt and I got that, even though it didnít go the full eight. Just having a fight scheduled for a longer distance gets you used to pacing yourself differently. It was good preparation for what I believe will be a big year.

"The Hennessy Sports team are doing a smash and grab of the British titles at the moment, we are bulldozing our way through. Iím looking forward to being a part of that."

Article posted on 02.06.2006



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