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Barker set for top after McKay destruction

PUBLISHED: 10:07 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:53 05 October 2010

By LEN WHALEY DARREN BARKER rounded off his 2008 campaign in winning style on Saturday night by outclassing Jason McKay at the Brentwood International Centre to retain his Commonwealth middleweight title. The 26-year-old former Repton star dominated thro

By LEN WHALEY

DARREN BARKER rounded off his 2008 campaign in winning style on Saturday night by outclassing Jason McKay at the Brentwood International Centre to retain his Commonwealth middleweight title.

The 26-year-old former Repton star dominated throughout and it was no suprise when McKay's corner pulled him out of the fight after the bell had signalled the end of round six.

Now Barker is looking forward to further international honours next year after promoter Mick Hennessy hailed the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist as a future world champion.

"Darren has got the potential to be the best middleweight in the world," said Hennessy. "He's got a great amateur pedigree, he's a brilliant boxer and he's starting to punch a lot harder now.

"We'd like to get a Commonwealth defence and by the end of next year we're looking for him to be European champion."

Barker was too fast, too powerful and too accurate for a game rival as he forced the pace, scoring with the sharp jabs and hooks.

The champion took control from the start, rocking McKay with a crunching right hand in the opening round.

He continued to pour on the punches, shaking the Northern Irish fighter again in the third and sixth rounds and leaving McKay's face bruised and battered.

The end came at the end of the sixth round when McKay's trainers John Breen and Eamonn Magee sensibly decided that they were not going to let their charge out of the corner.

After a 19th straight pro victory, Barker dedicated the performance to his brother Gary, who was tragically killed in a car accident two years ago.

Dwayne Lewis made it five fights unbeaten as a pro when he outpointed Slough rival Ryan Wall on the undercard at Brentwood.

Wall had won his last two contests but was in trouble from the start when a powerful right sent him to the floor for an eight count.

Lewis, who like Barker is trained by Tony Sims and promoted by Hennessy Sports, continued to hold the edge in a contest marred by holding.

Most ringside observers had the former Peacock club amateur a comfortable points winner, but referee Marcus McDonnell scored it a close 57-56 to the Canning Town boxer.

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