In the latest edition of the British boxing beat, we’ll take a look at a few hot topics. Darren Barker is on the shelf with another injury, Ajose Olusegun has the biggest fight of his career coming up, and Nathan Cleverly is getting ready for his upcoming title defense as well. Read on for the latest buzz on the British boxing scene.
Barker suffers injury again
It’s a case of déjà vu for Darren Barker. The talented English middleweight put forth a gallant effort while losing to world kingpin Sergio Martinez in October of last year, but he has not fought since due to various injuries, his luck deserting him and leaving him temporarily lost amidst the bustling landscape of middleweight contenders.
Barker only recently recovered from surgery he had to cure a long-standing hip injury, though perhaps adding frustration to injury, his latest setback is unrelated. Interviewed in the British press, Barker stated, “I was in the gym sparring and I caught my elbow on my sparring partner’s elbow.” The innocuous clash has left Barker with a bicep injury, ruling him out of his planned comeback against Simone Rotolo on September 8th.
It is a shame, though confessing he still feels young at 30, Barker still has some time on his side to get back into world title contention. He is still relatively fresh having refrained from engaging in gruelling wars within the ring, and there is real potential for some thrilling domestic dust-ups with Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray down the line.
Olusegun closing in on his big chance
Ajose Olusegun knows a thing or two about bad luck as well. It has been said that defeats can hang around a boxer’s neck like lead weights, but by Olusegun’s reckoning, an undefeated record equates to a career of neglect. Olusegun, 32 and originally from Nigeria, has been passed over more times than you could count on one hand, but he finally has the opportunity he has craved for so long as he prepares to face the much-vaunted Argentine banger Lucas Matthyse next weekend.
Olusegun initially made his career in the UK, winning the British and Commonwealth light welterweight titles in the process, though through no fault of his own, chances on a more international scale have been limited in supply. The fast handed southpaw seemed all set to finally get his chance when Danny Garcia took the WBC belt from Erik Morales’ legendary shoulders, though was left jilted when Garcia instead penciled in a date with Amir Khan instead. It is impossible to blame Garcia for taking the more glamorous option in Khan, but as a result Olusegun was once again left red in the face thanks to boxing politics.
Lucas Matthyse is a fighter no-one would like to face if they could avoid doing so. It is perhaps fitting then, that it is the much ignored Olusegun who faces him next Saturday night. All that is left for Olusegun now is to hope that his time spent patiently waiting was not time wasted.
Cleverly set for next defense
Boxing fans will be forgiven for feeling disgruntled at the rumored next choice of opponent for Nathan Cleverly, Wales’ WBO light heavyweight champion. Unknown Slovenian Denis Simcic looks all set for a trip to Cardiff, though whether he can test Cleverly’s mettle, never mind wrest the title away from him, remains to be seen.
It is a confusing piece of news, particularly given Frank Warren’s assertions that Cleverly’s next fight would be one of greater magnitude. After Jurgen Braehmer couldn’t get himself into a boxing ring, Cleverly instead beat Alexiy Kuziemski for what was essentially the vacant title, before defending against long-time domestic rival Tony Bellew and the unheard of Tommy Karpencky.
A fight with ring icon Bernard Hopkins has often been mentioned, as has a unification with the US-based Kazakh titlist, Beibut Shumenov, though neither have ever appeared close to fruition. It is high time the young Welshman stepped it up a gear. Even in the modern day of diluted titles and meaningless belts, Cleverly’s list of defenses does not quite meet the standard suited to a world level fighter.