Darren Barker will fight Italian champion Simone Rotolo for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental middleweight title at the top of the bill of Betfair’s ‘London’s Finest’ show at Wembley Arena on March 9, live on Sky Sports.
Rotolo (35-3), who hasn’t tasted defeat since a 2007 European title fight against former World champion German Sebastian Sylvester, was due to face Barker at Alexandra Palace in September before injury forced the Barnet-born boxer to withdraw.
Barker, who became engaged after proposing to girlfriend Gemma Kao at Wembley Stadium earlier in the week, has recently returned from a training camp in Spain and says he is ready for the difficult task Rotolo will present him as he works towards World title contention.
“I have watched him,” said the 30 year old. “I suppose there is a sense, a little bit, of unfinished business as well where I had to pull out of the September fight so it will be good to get in there and put this one behind me, put on a good performance and really crack on.
“He is experienced, he has had 30-odd fights, he is in his late 30s so he knows his way around the ring. He will be looking to make things difficult.
“I think he likes to do a lot of his work off the back foot so he is tough and experienced but I have a good bit of momentum behind me at the moment, I am injury free and really looking forward to putting on a good show.
“I am feeling really good, I am in fantastic shape and I had a good training camp out in Spain. I am where I want to be, if not slightly in front.
“[Spain] was a lot of hard work, it was some real graft. We have a fantastic team spirit at our gym, it is almost like a football club if you like, and if anyone has the hump we pull each other through. It was a good camp but tough.”
Barker’s title fight is supported by a mouth-watering clash between Lee Purdy and Carson Jones, Erick Ochieng’s English light middleweight title defence against Prizefighter star Terry Carruthers and an English title shot for cruiserweight Wadi Camacho against unbeaten China Clark.
There are Southern Area title bouts for Ryan Taylor against Liam Shinkwin at lightweight and Chris Evangelou in a rematch of the tasty light welterweight title fight edged by Danny Connor when the pair clashed in September. Unbeaten Islington middleweight John Ryder and former Team GB star Martin J. Ward are also in action in fights to be announced soon.
Tickets for Betfair’s ‘London’s Finest’ are on sale now priced £20, £30, £40, £60 and £80 from the Wembley Arena box office on 0844 815 0815 and www.wembleyarena.co.uk. VIP tickets priced £150 are available through Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com.