Barker admits frustration over McDermott clash

Darren Barker has been handed a final eliminator for the British title held by Matthew Macklin – but admits he is not happy about it

Darren Barker has learned that his Commonwealth title fight with Darren McDermott at Watford on May 23 has also been labelled a final eliminator for the British title held by Matthew Macklin - but Barker admits he is not happy about it.

He said: "It's a liberty asking me to fight an eliminator for the title - I should have been made the official challenger in a fight with Macklin with both the British and Commonwealth titles at stake."

But the 26-year-old former Repton amateur is resigned to the fact that he faces a two-step route to the title and is now focused on ending the year as the British and Commonwealth champion.

"I must admit becoming British champion has been a dream since I first started boxing," said Barker, whose six-year pro career has seen him remain unbeaten with 19 straight victories.

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Barker's regular promoter Mick Hennessy has won the purse bids for the eliminator and takes one of his brightest prospects to new territory for the show, which takes place at the Watford Coliseum

It marks the fourth venue in as many title defences for former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Barker, who defeated Steve Bendall at York Hall in his first defence in February 2008 before crossing the Atlantic to take a unanimous decision over Larry Sharpe in Alberta, Canada last August.

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His third defence was at the Brentwood International Centre last December, when his accurate attacks forced Irish challenger Jason McKay to retire in the sixth round.

Coventry fighter Bendall was also a victim of McDermott when they clashed for the English middleweight title in February.

But while Barker claimed a seventh-round stoppage win over the Midlands man, McDermott was taken the full distance before edging the fight on a 97-94 decision.

Barker is confident he can underline his status as one of Britain's top talents by overcoming McDermott and setting up a British title showdown with Macklin that could propel the winner on to the global stage.

"I am focused on taking the British title before the end of the year and then going on to bigger things," said Barker, a regular sparring partner of Carl Froch, who defends his WBC middleweight belt against Jermain Taylor in the United States this weekend.

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