By James McKnight @mckjimbo.
Darren Barker returned to winning ways on Saturday night by taking apart southpaw Welshman, Kerry Hope, in 4 rounds.
Barker suffered injuries to his hip and arm which caused him to be out of action for 14 months. After dusting off the cobwebs, we went about business in dazzling style.
The first couple of rounds were fairly uneventful with Barker keeping at range and Hope pressing.
Barker began to get the better of things though from round 3. He was becoming more confident and focused and began to land his right hand down the pipe almost at will, showing superior boxing ability. He pushed Hope back against the ropes on a couple of occasions as the Welshman was starting to feel the force of his shots.
Barker's power proved the defining factor in round 4. Hope was sent crashing to the canvas after Barker landed a solid short right uppercut followed by a right hook. Hope got up at the count of 6, but it was his corner who threw in the towel to prevent him from taking any more punishment.
The fight was over and Barker was now the new IBF Inter-Continental 168lb champion after winning the vacant title.
After his win at the Olympia in London, Barker had this to say.
"It is good to be back. We'd been working on the right hand and obviously with him being a southpaw the right hand down the middle is always a winner,"
"I was loading up a little too much, got a bit frustrated in the first round due to ring rust, but once I got my eye in I knew the opportunities would come and I found the opening."
Barker will be hoping to challenge for World titles again in 2013. He's on the right track after this comprehensive win.