Darren Barker shows an impressive return to form in stopping Kerry Hope
By Iain Dolan at ringside, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 13, 2012)
This past Saturday night, Barnet's Darren Barker showed an
impressive return to form stopping Merther's former European champ
Kerry Hope in four polished rounds at Kensington Olympia on Saturday
night. Barker (11st 8lbs 12 oz) started cautiously,
understandable after his recent injury set backs as both fighters
spent the first round feeling each other out. In the 2nd round Hope (11st 7lbs 8 oz), boxing from a southpaw
stance, enjoyed success when on the inside but Barker scored from
range and probably edged the round having landed the cleaner shots.
Kerry pressed forward in the 3rd but Darren countered
effectively particularly with the straight right down the middle.
Barker seemed to me to be sitting down on his shots a little more
than in previous fights and Hope was clearly shaken a couple of
Barker started the 4th with
another big right down the middle and followed it up with a left to
the body, right uppercut, right hook combination that dropped Hope
hard on the canvas. Hope rose at the count of five and looked just
about OK to continue but another big left hook from Barker had the
Hope's corner throwing in the towel. Darren looked excellent after
such a long lay off and if his injury worries are truly behind him he
can look forward to a good 2013, perhaps with a couple of early
nights along the way if his new found punching power persists.
Promoted to chief support after the
cancellation of two of the bigger fights on the card were Islington's
John Ryder (11st 6lbs) and Irish Prizefigher winner Eamon
O'Kane (11st 5lbs 8oz), facing off for a British
middleweight title eliminator. Neither fighter had tasted defeat as a
professional so both men started with confidence. O'Kane marched
forward and loaded up with the big right but missed a lot as southpaw
Ryder picked him off with short, chopping hooks. O'Kane looked much
the bigger man but the fight followed a similar theme throughout
which meant that eventually Ryder's cleaner work did start to have an
effect. O'Kane would walk forward swinging and occasionally hold and
Ryder would counter with hooks.
Heads clashed occasionally as you'd
expect with the southpaw/orthodox match up but it was far from a
dirty fight. By the 5th round Eamon seemed bereft of ideas
and was starting to miss with most of his shots while eating John's
counters almost every time. O'Kane did land two nice right hooks in
the 7th but it was a false dawn. The 8th of a
scheduled 10 turned out to be the last as John landed a cracking left
hook early in the round. Eamon finally ran out of gas and dropped his
hands. Ryder capitalised and two big right hands snapped Eamon's head
back and referee Howard Foster had seen enough to call a halt. It was
an entertaining fight and it's good to see two undefeated fighters,
both in good condition and both ambitious sharing a ring.
Earlier on in the evening hot young
prospect Kal Yafai (8st 6lbs 8 oz) faced his latest test in the shape
of Spain's Jorge Perez (8st 12lbs 80z). A left hook to the body from
Yafai had Perez on the deck late on in the 1st round but
the Spaniard showed plenty of heart by getting up and coming out for
the 2nd round. Kal looked much bigger at the weight and
landed almost at will throughout the 2nd round. Perez
landed a body shot of his own at the end of the 2nd which
caused Yafai to stop in his tracks. Normal service resumed in the 3rd as Yafai continued to land upstairs and down. Towards the end of the
round, both the referee and Perez's corner had decided he'd taken too
much punishment and the towel arrived at the same moment the referee
stepped in to end the fight. Perez was a good and durable opponent
but it's going to be hard to match Yafai going forward. Anybody a bit
sub standard will get blown away but it's a bit of a risk to throw
someone 6-0 with a dangerous opponent also. It's going to be an
interesting ride whatever happens.
It was a good show and a good
atmosphere considering two big fights got canceled at short notice.
Barker and Ryder both sold plenty of tickets being London boys and
what could have been a bit of a wash out turned out to be a good
night for the fans.
Questions, comments, email Iain Dolan at:
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