Darren Barker boosts world championship hopes with four-round win

Last Updated: 10/03/13 2:31pm

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Sky Bet

Darren Barker stopped Italian Simone Rotolo after four rounds at Wembley to keep his middleweight world championship hopes on track.

Rotolo was unable to continue after the fourth due to a hand injury, although the 37-year-old looked to have probably had enough after enduring four torrid rounds.

An overhand right staggered Rotolo in the first round and a body shot put him to the canvas.

At that point a very early night looked in prospect, but the Italian managed to re-gather himself and get a toehold in the contest.

But the 30-year-old Barker continued to dominate and Rotolo did well to stay on his feet after being caught with a flurry of punches in the fourth. It was no great surprise when he retired on his stool, citing a hand injury.

Barker, who took his record to 25-1 with the victory, told Sky Sports: "I have been training really hard. I think I have been believing in my strength a bit more lately and calling on my experience.

"He was quite an awkward opponent. No disrespect, he didn't look a million dollars but he knew his way around the ring. It was just a case of me closing up the space, not letting him get his shots off - which he did early on to be honest - and I knew my strength would overpower him in the end.

"I felt really strong. I felt a weight above him to be honest. I feel I am ready to push on now.

"There are the obvious domestic fights and world title fights out there but this is an exciting time for me and the rest of the guys in the middleweight division. We are part of a great division, domestically and internationally.

"I am game, I will fight anyone. It could be rematches, trilogies, the lot. So it's exciting times."

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