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Barker defends in Germany as Eddie looks ahead to a big night

Eddie Hearn Posted 2nd October 2013 view comments

The big news this week was that we concluded a deal with Felix Sturm for Darren Barker to make the first defence of his IBF middleweight title in Stuttgart on December 7.

In an ideal world we would have made that first defence in the UK, but Sturm's team made it quite clear they wouldn't come over here on a 75/25 purse bid split. They were also considering fights with Martin Murray and Robert Stieglitz.

Darren Barker: Will travel to Germany to make his first defence of the IBF belt

Darren Barker: Will travel to Germany to make his first defence of the IBF belt

If we didn't get the Sturm fight we would have had to go a long way down the rankings for a far less lucrative fight for Darren and we set our bar very high with what it would take to bring us to Germany, including the re-match clause and the neutral judges, and a pile of cash, and they came up with all of them.

We - with Darren and Tony Sims - came up with a decision that it was impossible to turn the deal because we believe Darren will beat Sturm quite comfortably. I know we've got to go over there and people say it's difficult and talk about the Macklin and Murray fights, but in my opinion Macklin won a close fight and Murray could have gone either way.

With neutral officials, and the IBF we trust implicitly, I can't see Barker losing that fight.

Eddie Hearn
Quotes of the week

But people forget about the Geale fight and the Soloman fight, which were both very close as well and both of which went against Sturm. With neutral officials, and the IBF we trust implicitly, I can't see Barker losing that fight. If something goes drastically wrong we'll do the re-match in March in London.

Financially and from a legacy standpoint it was a fight he couldn't turn down. Beating Sturm, in Germany, is fantastic for the resume and I believe he'll do it and of course financially it's life-changing. I can understand the fans wanting him to fight in the UK but he's got to take care of himself.

Class

This weekend is a massive night of boxing at the O2 Arena where not only does Anthony Joshua make his long-awaited debut, but Scott Quigg takes on Yoandris Salinas for the WBA super-bantamweight title.

Salinas is a class act and it's something we can't overlook. He's flown in on Monday and all the reports are that he looks fantastic, very fit and well as you would expect. He's unbeaten, a Golden Boy fighter and challenging for the world title.

It's a real 50-50 fight, Scott has trained so hard and has so much desire, I think he'll do the business. It's going to be a great fight and I'm really looking forward to it and I'm glad we managed to save the fight after the Manchester show fell through.

The great fights just keep coming and Kevin Mitchell takes another step towards a title shot against Marco Lopez. It's a big fight for Mitchell after he had that little fight on the Prizefighter show against a decent Mexican and it will give him an IBF ranking and put him back in line for a title fight.

I think the Mitchell-Mathews fight is a wonderful one that I'm going to try and make for the end of this year or beginning of next. I think the winner of that will go on to fight for world honours, but first things first it's a real test for Mitchell, who I have to say looks fantastic in the gym and has really got the buzz back.

He seems to have found a new lease of life under Tony Sims and I think he realises this is the last crack of the whip and he's more determined than ever. I think success lifts everyone and Kevin is feeding off that and has new ambition and drive, and he doesn't want to go out anymore he wants to knuckle down and achieve things for his family.

Then we have Lee Selby, who was in a really tough fight last time and I'm looking for him to look absolutely devastating on Saturday night and send out a message to the division.

He is used to getting everything his own way and he will have learned a lot from the Simeon fight, and now is a chance to really turn on the style against a tough Ryan Walsh who will bring a big army of fans as well and help create a good atmosphere in there.

Glenn Foot will remain on the bill after we lost his opponent Larry Ekundayo to an injury, because he's brought a lot of fans down from Sunderland, while we have a great cruiserweight fight between Wadi Camacho and Tony Conquest.

This is the biggest test of Wadi's career as Conquest is a very accomplished and technical fighter, but himself is coming back from a one-round knockout loss to Neil Dawson. It's an eliminator for the British title so it's crunch time for two popular Londoners and I think it could be one of the fights of night.

Another fight that goes under the radar is Danny Connor against Tony Owens, two big tickets sellers and two all-action fighters and both from the same kind of area.

And we haven't even mentioned Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell, who is actually in a difficult fight against Neil Hepper who is a decent fighter, but I'm expecting another razor-sharp performance from Luke. It's going to be a great night.

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