Barker issues statement of intent with McDermott victory

PUBLISHED: 17:31 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:23 05 October 2010

Darren Barker (right)

Darren Barker (right)

Darren Barker has fired an explosive warning to the British middleweight division after blasting out Midlands rival Darren McDermott

Darren Barker fired an explosive warning to the middleweight division and British champion Matthew Macklin after blasting out Midlands rival Darren McDermott at the Watford Coliseum on Saturday night.

Barker retained his Commonwealth title and earned the right to challenge Macklin for the British crown with the best performance of his six-year pro career as he stopped McDermott in the fourth round.

Now the former Repton star is aiming to take Macklin's British title and challenge for world honours.

He roared: "I know I am world class - and after I beat Macklin for the British crown I will go on to prove it."

The 27-year-old recorded his 20th straight victory with a crushing finish that made a mockery of the suggestions that the stylish Baker is no more than a powder-puff puncher.

McDermott had been on the receiving end of a string of accurate shots in every round before the durable Black Country fighter was sent crashing to the canvas by a powerful right hand.

He collapsed stiffly to the floor and although gamely regained his feet in a bid to continue the clash, referee Dave Parris signalled it was all over.

The loser protested that he was capable of carrying on, but winner Barker insisted that referee Parris had made the correct decision.

"How many more right hands did he want to take?" Barker said. "If the referee had let it go on, he would have eaten right hands all night."

George Hillyard has vowed to continue his pro career despite suffering a four-round defeat by close friend Matthew Thirlwall on the undercard of Barker's title defence.

In what was viewed as a make-or-break night for Hillyard following a stop-start pro career, the Canning Town fighter made a confident opening in the East v South London battle.

But light-middleweight Hillyard, who had stepped up a division for the contest, was caught by a sharp left hook as the bell sounded to end the fourth round and after walking back to his stool, a retirement decision came from his corner.

Hillyard said: "It was a great punch, but I was winning the fight until then. Boxing is all about - ups and downs. I've had my fair share and I'll come back from this.

"I'll go back to my natural weight. If I had been fighting someone my own weight, I would've won that fight. I'll bounce back and I'll carry on fighting.

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