Darren Barker faced no real challenge today from 37-year-old Italian Simone Rotolo, winning when Rotolo retired from the bout after four rounds due to a hand injury.
Barker (25-1, 16 KO) dropped Rotolo (35-4, 15 KO) in the first round, and might have let him off the hook that frame, too. Rotolo mostly tried to stay away from Barker, but wound up unable to do that enough to do anything of real significance. Rotolo might have landed three significant punches in the entire fight, and apparently one of them broke his hand or something. Jim Watt speculated that Rotolo may have retired due to a broken heart. That's a thought.
Barker has spoken about fighting Andy Lee next, and that would be an easily made fight, it seems, as Lee also has said he wants that bout. It would be a good step back up for Barker before he tries to go to an even higher level again. For now, it's just good to see him back, and fighting with some aggression and passion.
George Groves had an easy time in his Matchroom debut, knocking out Argentina's Dario German Balmaceda in three rounds. Groves improves to 17-0 (13 KO), and will fight again on May 25 on the Froch-kessler show.
Lee Purdy improved to 20-1 (13 KO) with a ninth round stoppage of veteran Cosme Rivera (35-16-3, 24 KO). Rivera was there on short notice, and at 36 he's pretty shopworn, and was never really a top fighter in the first place. Purdy mostly had his way in the fight, looked bigger than Rivera, and won after about the 1300th time referee Marcus McDonnell took Rivera to the doctor to look at a cut.
Chris Evangelou again looked like the more skilled fighter in his rematch with Danny Connor, but he lost just like the first fight, this time dropping the decision 97-93. Evangelou (9-2, 1 KO) was down twice late in the seventh round as the result of one great body shot from Connor (8-5-1, 0 KO).