Barker praises Olympic duo

PUBLISHED: 17:55 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:20 05 October 2010

Commonwealth middleweight champion Darren Baker against Olympic gold medal hero James DeGale is the intriguing clash that took place in a Hainault gym

Commonwealth middleweight champion Darren Baker against Olympic gold medal hero James DeGale is the intriguing clash that took place in a Hainault gym last week.

The duo swapped punches at trainer Tony Sims' TBS gym, where former Repton star Barker is preparing for his Commonwealth title defence against Dudley's Darren McDermott in Watford on May 23.

With Beijing hero DeGale, who trains at Loughton under Jim McDonell, preparing for his second pro fight, the sparring session proved ideal preparation for the pair.

Also providing the sparring help for Barker at the TBS gym last week was Irish middleweight Darren Sutherland, who took bronze in Beijing after he was beaten by DeGale.

Commonwealth champion Barker admitted that both fighters supplied some "good sparring sessions," but could not split the rivals when it came to pro potential.

"Both have a lot of ability and should adapt to the pro game well," said Barker, whose clash with McDermott is a final eliminator for the British middleweight crown.

DeGale appears on the undercard of Frank Warren's May 15 promotion at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, which is topped by a Commonwealth title clash between Ulster heavyweight Martin Rogan and rival Sam Sexton.

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