Darren Barker will make the first defence of his IBF middleweight title against former world champion Germany’s Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on December 7, promoter Eddie Hearn revealed today.
Barker claimed the belt when he outpointed Daniel Geale in America in August and has now agreed a two-fight deal with the experienced Sturm, who is his mandatory challenger. It was Geale who Sturm lost his world title to, his first defeat in six years and the slippery former champion will have designs on reclaiming the belt back.
The German has a reputation for being tough to beat at home, having already broke the hearts of two other British middleweights in 2011. Matthew Macklin who he took a split decision win over and then Martin Murray who he controversially drew with to retain his belt before losing it to Geale.
“It’s a two fight deal with a London fight scheduled for March 2014 at Darren’s option.” said Hearn.
“We have been in discussions with Felix Sturm’s team since the Daniel Geale fight, and with purse bids approaching they made their intentions quite clear,
“Felix is the fight we want both financially and from a legacy perspective and once we were able to introduce our necessary demands, which included a potential second fight in the UK and neutral officials, then this was an opportunity Darren could not turn down.
“Even though defeat would lead to an immediate rematch in London, we are all confident that Darren will defend his title in style on December 7 in Germany.” added Hearn.