Barker v Sturm - as it happened

Darren Barker loses his IBF middleweight title in his first defence as Germany's Felix Sturm prevails in Stuttgart.

7 December 2013 Last updated at 21:53

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As it happened

  1. 2309: 
    Felix Sturm

    A sad night and perhaps the final time we see Darren Barker in the ring, but he showed enough heart and stand-and-deliver style in that first round to add to his career highlight reel.

    That is where we will leave it for tonight. Thanks for the messages and see you soon. Why not head over to see what Ben Dirs made of it all elsewhere on the BBC Sport pages.

    Richie Woodhall, Olympic bronze medallist and boxing commentator

    "The important thing is, will Darren have the desire to come back? He's a proper fighter but he's climbed the mountain - he's been a world champion. Will he want to go through all the training again?"

  3. 2304: 

    Daveybilo on text: "It's just a shame that Felix Sturm is too scared to fight St Helens' Martin Murray again... He knows what the end result would be!"

  4. 2303: 

    Promoter Eddie Hearn on BBC Radio 5 live: "It looked a year ago that Darren Barker would never fight again, but he has been and won a world title which is more than we can ever have dreamed of.

    "I'm not sure of the severity of the injury and I will need to check with Darren if a comeback is something that he even wants to do. He had five or six serious injuries that could of already finished his career. Does he want to go through all that again? I don't know."

  5. 2259: 

    Christopher Willis on Twitter: "Desperately sad for Darren Barker. A great gent and warrior who has ridden so many physical and mental hurdles. Deserved better."

  6. 2258: 

    Felix Sturm speaking to Sky Sports: "That was the second best performance behind my loss to Oscar de la Hoya. He had some pain in his leg but hopefully he will be alright and we can have a rematch in London next year. You have to go back it is the gentleman thing to do after he gave me a shot here.

    "I wanted to start fast but Darren caught me with a left hook and it was hard. I'm 34 not 44. Every human is different and I feel great. I am training like never before and I think I can go on for another 10, 12, 14 fights."

  7. 2254: 

    Darren Barker will be around a million pounds better off for his night's work if you believe reports. That will be little consolation to him tonight, but when he looks back at his career, I don't think taking this as his first defence will be a regret. It was a brave sporting decision and a sensible financial one.

  8. 2248: 

    Felix Sturm hoists his son onto his shoulders and poses for yet more photos, but announcer Michael Buffer has places to be. He wants to do the presentation of his belt and official announcement, so the connections are shooed out of the way and the microphone is fired up.

    Richie Woodhall, Olympic bronze medallist and boxing commentator

    "There's a clause in the contract for a re-match. We'll have to see how bad the injury is. He's already had two operations but I know Darren Barker, he's a proper fighter and he won't want to go out like that. Let's wait and see how bad the injury is."

  10. 2243: 

    There is a rematch clause in the contract for this fight. Whether that ever gets activated is another thing.

    Felix Strum is posing for photos with his team while music blares around the Arena. Any concerns that the home fans might have had about an early end to their evening's entertainment have been washed away as the party starts.

    Richie Woodhall, Olympic bronze medallist and boxing commentator

    "I'm absolutely speechless. Until the first knockdown, Darren was doing quite well in the round. He gets caught with a right hand and then gets caught by a sharp right hand counter. When he hit the deck for the first time, he'd definitely done something to his hip. And then Felix Sturm, being the professional that he is, closed him down and picked his shot. Felix's accuracy was spot on and Darren couldn't recover. The hip certainly played a big part in the defeat."

  12. 2240: 

    Felix Sturm, who seems an all round gent, checks up on his opponent, but Darren Barker is struggling. The Briton limps out between the ropes and heads back to the dressing room.

    Mike Costello, BBC Sport boxing commentator

    "It's a desperate night for Darren Barker. He had put so much into this evening, but it's all come undone. He's in excruciating pain in the corner he and probably won't be able to walk back to his dressing room. Not only is it the end of his reign as world champion but you'd have to believe it could be the end of his career."

  14. 2236: 

    The towel came in from Darren Barker's corner. The Briton is back on his stool and wincing as Felix Sturm celebrates with his entourage and the Bosnian flag.


    Darren Barker is marking up already and he is having trouble getting through the German's guard. Big overhand right from Sturm. Down goes Barker! Back on his feet. But down again goes Barker as Sturn sniffs blood. Barker shakes his head pointing at his hip. Is it an injury? The referee steps in as Barker is wobbled again. It's all over.

    Richie Woodhall, Olympic bronze medallist and boxing commentator

    "Clever tactics from Sturm. Every time this guy comes to the end of the round, the last 30 seconds, he really steps on the gas. He has caught Darren with a couple of right hands right at the end. It was close, but I think Sturm will get the round."

  17. 2233: 

    A cracking start to this world title contest.

  18. 2232: 

    Darren Barker is straight into the mix, jabbing two lefts into the body. He heads upstairs and grazes the top of Sturm's head with an overhand right. Barker is looks crisp early on, but Sturm is returning fire with interest, looking less busy but swinging with big heavy blows. Two big right hand at the end of the round probably shaded it for the German.

  19. 2228: 

    Here we go. Mark Nelson of the United States will be the third man in the ring.

  20. 2228: 

    The introductions are ramped out by announcer Michael Buffer. Felix Sturm looks calm and composed as his credentials are read out. Darren Barker fires off a volley off shadow punches before advancing to take his last instructions.

  21. 2225: 

    Time for the national anthems. A very slick show this, with a big-lunged singer belting out the German number before handing over to a tweed-bedecked gentleman who does God Save the Queen to a backing of boos from the locals. Darren Barker stood to attention and sang along.

    Richie Woodhall, Olympic bronze medallist and boxing commentator

    "Barker has to go to work straight away and set a high tempo because the 34-year-old Sturm will not fancy a long fight."

  23. 2222: 

    "From London, England and the defending world champion, Darren "Dazzling" Baaarkeeer." Here comes the Briton, stern of face and pumping his gloved fist.

  24. 2220: 

    Michael Buffer says it is time to party, before throwing to a video of Felix Sturm in some sort of Flashdance-style scenario, breaking rocks and wielding sledgehammers. Back to reality we flash as the German is led to the ring amid the disco lights and bustling security guards.

  25. 2217: 

    Former world champions Joe Calzaghe and Markus Beyer are being interviewed with the pictures beamed up onto the big screens above the ring. Chit-chat done, the lights dim...

  26. 2215: 

    The stadium announcer clears his throat and runs through the introductions of the ringside judges and sponsors. The arrival of the two men themselves cannot be far off...

  27. 2213: 

    After Carl Froch and George Groves left the nation wanting more a fortnight ago, there is healthy press coverage of Barker's debut as world champion at the weight division below.

    Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail is predicting it will go the distance. "I expect him to impose himself to such an extent that even if the judges are swayed by the home crowd they will still have no option but to declare him the victor," he writes.

    In the Guardian Kevin Mitchell believes tonight will be the night that Sturm "gets old very quickly."

    Bullish stuff from the British press pack.

    Richie Woodhall, Olympic bronze medallist and boxing commentator

    "I think that Felix Sturm has been very lucky in some of his defences in Germany. Randy Griffin came over here in Sturm's second defence and should have had the win, Matthew Macklin was robbed and his luck just ran out against Daniel Geale. He is on the slide for me."

  29. 2209: 

    No sign of the A-list yet at ringside, but Felix Sturm mixes with some fairly select sporting company.

    His Bosnian heritage (he was born Adnan Catic) has cemented a friendship with Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. And Lukas Podolski joined the pair of them in the ring to pose for photos after his win over Matthew Macklin.

    Sebastian Vettel was supposed to be down apparently, but has sent his apologies. Can't blame the traffic that lad.

    Richie Woodhall, Olympic bronze medallist and boxing commentator

    "The first defence is the hardest because you come back to earth with a bang and have to refocus. Darren could not have chosen a harder place to come. Felix Sturm is no mug, this will be his 20th world title fight, but I fancy Barker to win it. He is coming into it with all the momentum."

  31. 2208: 

    Is there a sport that works better on the radio? My favourite round-the-wireless boxing memory was in the early hours in remote Cornwall, listening to Ricky Hatton taking on Floyd Mayweather crackling out the speakers in December 2007.

    Anyway, BBC Radio 5 live are up and running cranking out the latest from Stuttgart with Mike Costello and Richie Woodhall on the mic.

  32. 2206: 
    Felix Sturm

    So who is the man who will advance on Darren Barker when the opening bell rings?

    Felix Sturm is a three-time world champion. A little long in the tooth at 34, the German lost a split decision to Daniel Geale, the man who Barker beat in a terrific tear-up to win his strap, back in 2012.

    But Sturm has form for sending British-based fighters packing on his home turf. He has took a split decision against Matthew Macklin in June 2011 and held Martin Murray to a draw in December 2011.

    One of his greatest performances came in defeat. Many believed that he had beaten Oscar de la Hoya in 2004, but the judges' scores handed his WBO title to the American.

    He is a canny operator with bags of experience who lands with power.

  33. 2204: 

    If you are half as vocal as the Darren Barker fans in the Porsche Arena tonight, the old BBC text message machine will be smoking.

    The British contingent are only 1000-odd strong but they are taking on the German majority with a big display of red, white and blue and massive decibels.

  34. 2201: 

    Of course, the big question, nay the only question, is whether Darren Barker will leave the ring with the same trouser accessory that he came in with.

    Win or lose? That is what I want from you tonight. If you are feeling extra generous lob a 'when' and 'how' into your prediction. If you are really spoiling us, a 'why' would go down a treat.

    #bbcboxing on Twitter and 81111 on text are your ways into the live text commentary tonight.

  35. 2159: 
    Darren Barker

    You wouldn't if you had a two hip replacement operations.

    Misshapen joints are just one of the obstacles that the 31-year-old from Barnet has overcome in his career.

    Barker endured the death of his younger brother, a vicious mob-handed street attack and a crushing defeat on his American debut before beating Daniel Geale in New Jersey in August.

    That victory means he will be announced into the ring as a world champion for the first time as he defends his IBF middleweight crown against Germany's Felix Sturm in Stuttgart tonight.

    Ringwalks are minutes away.

  36. 2155: 
    Muhammad Ali

    Muhammad Ali, building local support, lapping Hyde Park in the early morning.

    Rocky, being cheered by the population of Philadelphia, running up the steps of the city's Art museum.

    Carl Froch, being watched by the occasional dog walker, doing shuttles down by the River Trent.

    The hood-up hard yards are supposed to be a key part of all boxers' preparations for big fights. So why doesn't Darren Barker bother?

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