Last August, Darren Barker's career hit its high note, as the Londoner came off the canvas to outbox and outfight IBF middleweight titleholder Daniel Geale in an exciting HBO main event from Atlantic City, winning his first and now only world title.
Barker has been forced to retire from the sport due to a hip injury, which had been a problem in the past and flared up badly once again in his November TKO-2 loss to Felix Sturm in Germany.
Barker's win over Geale was an inspiring end to what had been a long and frustrating pro journey. "Dazzling Dal" had always appeared to have the skill and the potential, but some eyebrow-raising nights along the way, mixed with constant nagging injuries, nearly shut him down early. Beating Geale established that Barker, at his best, could be one of the world's better middleweight fighters.
The loss to Sturm, however, sent it all crashing down. Though he showed a lot of heart and determination, Barker's body flat-out betrayed him early, as Sturm came out pressing and put Barker on the canvas, where the hip injury clearly came back. Though Barker tried to fight through it, his corner had no choice but to end the fight.
There was immediate speculation that the injury could be enough to end his career. Today, that has become reality.
"I'm so proud and happy at what I've achieved when I won my first national title as a kid I could have retired a happy boy then so to have won all the major titles possible for me I'm a very, very happy man," said Barker.
"I did this all for my brother Gary - we did it mate! I'm now looking forward to sitting back and being a keen fan and wishing all my fellow countrymen all the best in their careers."
Barker, 31, retires with a career record of 26-2 (16 KO), and the IBF world, British, Commonwealth, and European middleweight titles to his credit.