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Darren Barker: Kerry Hope is not in my league

Middleweights Darren Barker (left) and Kerry Hope during a press conference at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire. Middleweights Darren Barker (left) and Kerry Hope during a press conference at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
7:29 AM

Darren Barker believes the succession of injuries that left him fearing his career was over will ensure he has plenty of fuel left in the tank.

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Barker meets fellow former European title holder Kerry Hope at Olympia on December 8, 14 months after he came up short in a challenge for Sergio Martinez’s WBC middleweight title.

A torn biceps injury prevented him from fighting last month, while problems with both hips and elbows have also wreaked havoc with his career.

But the upside is the 30-year-old has had just 24-fights, losing only to pound-for-pound contender Martinez.

“No disrespect to Kerry but he’s not in my league. If I impress against him, I’m back onto the world scene,” Barker said.

“I want to get some momentum going, which I haven’t been able to do over the last two years.

“I came up short against Martinez but I went there to win the world title.

“I’m a young 30-year-old and if you look back at my career I haven’t had many hard fights. The Martinez fight wasn’t a war.”

Last month’s clash with Simone Rotolo was cancelled because of injury and not for the first time Barker, thought his career was over.

“It was a depressing time, soul-destroying. I hit rock bottom,” Barker said.

“I had to do some soul-searching and see if boxing was for me. At one point I’d announced my retirement to myself. It was rock-bottom stuff.

“You get to 30 years old and you start asking what am I on this planet for?

“I always believed it was boxing but how can I feed my family if I can’t get near the ring? I’ve got a little girl and it was worrying.

“But I’ve turned the page and mentally I feel so switched on. I’m ready to kickstart my career again.”

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