Boxing: Former world champion Darren Barker announces his retirement after suffering dislocated hip in defeat to Felix Sturm

Barker lost his IBF world middleweight title at the first defence after suffering the serious injury early inthe fight

Former world champion Darren Barker has announced his retirement from boxing after suffering a serious hip injury in his defeat to Felix Sturm last year.

Barker, who won the IBF middleweight championship in August last year by beating Australian Daniel Geale, suffered a dislocated hip in his first defence of the title when he took on Sturm in Germany, struggling in the first round before it became clear that he could not continue in the second.

Having remained coy on his future until now, Barker admitted that he may require surgery to correct the injury, having been blighted with injury troubles throughout his career.

"I'm so proud and happy at what I've achieved, said Barker, who paid tribute to his late brother Gary by dedicating his success to him.

"When I won my first national title as a kid I could have retired a happy boy then, so to have won all the major titles possible for me I'm a very, very happy man.

"I did this all for my brother Gary - we did it mate!

"I'm now looking forward to sitting back and being a keen fan and wishing all my fellow countrymen all the best in their careers."

Former British, Commonwealth and European champion Barker added: "I would like to thank my family for their support, without them none of what I achieved would have been possible.

"My fantastic friends and all the fans that bought tickets to my fights and travelled the country and world supporting me - I really appreciate it and thank you.

"Tony Sims constantly got the best out of me and he's more than a fantastic trainer, he's a mentor and very good friend.

"(Thanks to) Eddie Hearn and the rest of the guys at Matchroom Sport for getting me the big fights and elevating me to another level and ultimately getting me the fight that helped me realise a dream. I've also met some friends for life there."

Barker won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games before embarking on a professional career which saw him win every significant title at domestic and continental level.

A valiant effort against recognised middleweight king Sergio Martinez in 2011 ended with an 11th round stoppage defeat which nevertheless enhanced his reputation at elite level.

He seized his next world title opportunity in dramatic fashion, climbing from the canvas to beat IBF boss Geale before sinking to his knees with emotion when he was announced as the new champion.

Defeat by Sturm in December was certainly not the ideal way to bring the curtain down on a stellar career. But having considered retirement on several occasions due to injury over the years, 'Dazzling' Barker can be truly satisfied as he bows out with a world title belt on his mantelpiece.

 

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