SAN DIEGO, August 18, 2013 –Darren Barker of England got some revenge for British boxing fans in Atlantic City Saturday night with a remarkable effort full of heart that gave him a split decision victory over Daniel Geale of Australia.
The underdog Barker asserted himself from the start of the bout, and hit his stride by the third round with assertive power punches against Geale.
Barker started to work the body in the middle rounds effectively, but as he attacked in the sixth round, Geale took advantage with a serious countershot to the liver and dropped Barker out of nowhere.
Barker got up with a very long minute and a half to go. It didn’t seem he would make it out of the round, but he rallied and began punching his way out. It was a wildly entertaining round that demonstrated how badly both men wanted to win this contest.
Barker’s recovery through the second half of the fight was nothing less than remarkable. He gained strength as the fight continued and began scoring against Geale with quality punches. By the last round, most observers had the fight close, most in favor of Barker. It would come down to which fighter wanted it more.
The pair came out for the 12th round on fire. Barker showed blood from a cut above the left eye. He was hit hard by Geale but Barker’s sheer will got him to the end and to the scorecards. So it went to the judges. Knockdown aside, would the judges reward Barker’s effort and heart?
Alan Rubenstein scored it 114-113 for Geale, Carlos Ortiz Jr. the same score but for Barker. Barbara Perez scored it 116-111 for Barker. Barker and his team jumped for joy in the ring and tears started to flow all around when his split decision win was announced.
After the fight, an emotional Barker said, “Not many people know the journey I’ve been through it’s been a real rocky story. I will dedicate this to my late brother. Everything I’ve done is for him. Gary, this is for you, mate.”
Barker called Geale a “great champion” and said the punch in the sixth round caught him on the solar plexus, taking his breath away. Barker said all he could think about was his late brother and his family, and it got him through the fight.
“I knew I was up against it, being the away fighter. Daniel is a fantastic champion. I just tried to work my hardest. I want to go home and see my daughter, I miss her badly, I really really do. Before I do that, there might be a few beers consumed.”
Geale was gracious though clearly dismayed by the outcome. “I’m not going to whinge and cry and carry on. It didn’t go my way tonight. I’m very very disappointed. I worked very hard. My whole body, everything, I hurt him throughout the fight. That’s what happens. It’s disappointing.
Geale said he would sit down and watch the replay. “I felt I caught a lot on the gloves, there were glancing blows. I knew it was going to be tight. It was a close fight.”
Barker may now get a chance to face Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin, the fearsome knockout king from Kazakhstan via Germany who is the biggest threat in the middleweight division with many new American fans. Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) appears to have a bout booked with Curtis Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) in New York at Madison Square Garden on HBO November 2. Felix Sturm could also be a required matchup.
Whoever Barker and Geale face next in the exciting middleweight division, fans will welcome them back into the ring. Both can walk away with their heads held high and with the respect of boxing fans everywhere.
Spain’s Kiko Martinez let his power punches and body shots do the lion’s share of the work to get an upset TKO victory in Round 6 against the previously undefeated Jhonatan Romero of Colombia. Martinez is now the new IBF super bantamweight champion.
After the fight, an elated Martinez told HBO’s Max Kellerman, “Pinch me, pinch me, for this is a dream for me. HBO, you transmitting this fight, I watch you all the time. Michael Buffer called out my name, I can’t believe it,” he laughed. “This is a dream, I’m super happy. I have no words but all I want to do is give my daughter a kiss when I get back on Monday. I made it.”
Martinez said his trainer Pablo Sarmiento “was poking me with a stick from the corner” to be aggressive, and when he saw that Romero was hurt, he kept throwing punches knowing the referee would eventually stop the fight. Martinez says he’d now like to fight Nonito Donaire. Martinez is certainly ambitious with that call-out to the Filipino Flash. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Whoever he fights next, Martinez will be worth seeing again.
You can see a replay of all three of Saturday’s bouts on HBO Sunday at 8:45 p.m. ET, and on Sunday, August 19 at 12:45 a.m. ET; and also on HBO2 Sunday at 5 p.m. ET and on Tuesday, August 20 at 12:10 a.m. ET.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read Ringside Seat in Communities, follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter at @PRProSanDiego Gayle can be reached via Google +
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