Darren Barker: Kerry Hope is not in my league

07:29 24 October 2012

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.

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.

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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