Darren Barker was apparently set to face WBO middleweight titleholder Dmitry Pirog in Russia, but that idea is now canned after Barker suffered a hip injury in training, according to his promoters at Matchroom Boxing.
"I’m absolutely gutted by the timing of the injury," said Barker. "I had been feeling good in the gym and was buzzing at the prospect of another World title fight. But I will come again after the summer, get back to full fitness and hopefully the title shot will still be there."
Barker (23-1, 14 KO) is coming off of a KO loss to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in October, and hasn't fought since then. He suffered a perforated eardrum in that bout, and this is not Barker's first rodeo with a big fight being called off late due to injury.
Barker, who turns 30 in May, is a talented fighter who did stand a solid chance at defeating Pirog (19-0, 15 KO) had the two met, and it was a good fight Matchroom was lining up, and Eddie Hearn is hoping to make the fight a reality in September.
"I'm desperately disappointed for Darren as he has been looking sharp in the gym. Pirog's promoter Artie Pellulo offered us the fight for May but we hope now to rearrange for September. We were also on the short-list for the Chavez June fight but have also had to rule ourselves out of contention."
Pirog is still expected to fight on May 1 in Russia, perhaps against mandatory challenger Max Bursak (24-0-1, 10 KO).