Barker set for the top after Canada win

PUBLISHED: 11:06 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:33 05 October 2010

By LEN WHALEY DARREN Barker continued his victory march on the other side of the Atlantic on Friday night with a performance to suggest he will soon be challenging for top honours. Former Repton amateur star Barker, the undefeated British Commonwealth


DARREN Barker continued his victory march on the other side of the Atlantic on Friday night with a

performance to suggest he will soon be challenging for top honours.

Former Repton amateur star Barker, the undefeated British Commonwealth middleweight champion, made it 18 straight victories at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Alberta, Canada.

His latest triumph was a unanimous points decision over brave Canadian veteran Larry Sharpe in the 10-round top-of-the-bill tussle.

It was a dominant display from Barker and there were no complaints from the defeated Sharpe, who had earlier suggested that his 26-year-old rival had made a mistake by leaving his home surroundings.

"Darren is a much better boxer than me - I just couldn't cope with his movement and his hand speed," admitted local favourite Sharpe, who suffered his fifth defeat in 27 contests.

"I tried to cut off the ring and make him come straight in on me, but Barker is smart. He slides very well to the side and punches hard with both hands. He'll go far."

Barker was pleased with a performance which he described afterwards as "workmanlike" - and had words of praise for Sharpe, who had gone into the meeting on a six-fight winning streak.

"He was the perfect guy for me to fight in my North American debut," said Barker.

"Larry was very tough, very awkward, so I was actually quite pleased we went the distance."

"I learned a ton of things tonight that will stand me in good stead as I move up the ladder."

Classy Barker piled up the points with an effective long-range jab which punished his rival in every round.

Sharpe showed his durability, soaking up the shots and solid hooks when the exchanges moved to close-quarters.

He also tried hard to shake Barker's dominance but was credited with winning just two rounds on the 8-2 official scorecard.

Barker's trainer Tony Sims was satisfied with the outcome. He said: "On a scale of one to 10, I'd say this was about an 8.5.

"We wanted to get rounds in the bank and we wanted to see how we'd fare against a tough, awkward southpaw, and Sharpe fit the bill exactly.

"Darren didn't miss many punches, and he came out ahead every time they mixed it up inside. All in all, it was just what we were looking for.

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