Darren Barker vs Felix Sturm set for December 7

Scott Heavey

Darren Barker will make the first defense of his IBF middleweight title on December 7, facing longtime top middleweight Felix Sturm in Germany.

Darren Barker holds the title, but on December 7, Felix Sturm will as always have home field advantage. The two will meet for Barker's IBF middleweight title in Stuggart, Germany, meaning that the British Barker will be hitting the road once again.

Barker (26-1, 16 KO) beat Australian Daniel Geale on neutral ground in Atlantic City on August 17, scoring a deserved and very competitive split decision victory to win his first world title. Now, the 31-year-old Barker will have to go somewhere that foreign fighters are generally skeptical of fighting, against a fighter who has received the benefit of the doubt twice in recent history at home against British foes.

Sturm (38-3-2, 17 KO) is certainly past his best days, with stamina issues dogging him in many of his notable recent bouts, but he's still a quality contender at 160 pounds at the least. In 2011, he got a decision win over Matthew Macklin and then escaped with a draw against Martin Murray, with many feeling that both Macklin and Murray deserved the nods in those fights. Perhaps Barker will be in good shape because his initials are not MM.

Sturm, 34, then demolished Sebastian Zbik before dropping the WBA title at home to Geale, who later had that belt stripped because boxing. Sturm then lost a decision to Sam Soliman, which was overturned after Soliman reportedly failed a drug test, a situation that never felt entirely cleared up. Most recently, Sturm easily handled unbeaten but overmatched Predrag Radosevic in July.

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