Darren Barker will defend his IBF World Middleweight title against Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on Saturday December 7.
Barker and Sturm’s teams struck an agreement where the Londoner faces the former WBA champion in Germany with a return fight in London scheduled for March at Barker’s option.
The pair will come face-to-face at a press conference in Stuttgart next Wednesday with a London press conference the following day, and Barker’s promoter Eddie Hearn is delighted that the fight has been finalised.
“We have been in discussions with Felix Sturm’s team since the Daniel Geale fight, and with purse bids approaching they made their intentions quite clear,” said Hearn.
“Felix is the fight we want both financially and from a legacy perspective and once we were able to introduce our necessary demands, which included a potential second fight in the UK and neutral officials, then this was an opportunity Darren could not turn down. Even though defeat would lead to an immediate rematch in London, we are all confident that Darren will defend his title in style on December 7 in Germany.”
This is an interesting move. Facing Sturm in Germany has long been a dangerous proposition, with terrible decisions being handed out on more than once occasion. But with a rematch clause set for London, if necessary, Barker and his team have ensured that even with a defeat, they have two high money championship fights lined up.
Still, Sturm is not exactly the best available challenge at the moment, and with so many fighters in the UK middleweight scene alone, there was more interesting directions they could have chosen.