Darren Barker overcame an absolutely devastating sixth-round knockdown to upset Daniel Geale by split-decision on Saturday night, and claim the IBF Middleweight Championship in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Scores were 116-111 and 114-113 for Barker and 114-113 for Geale.
Both men threw punches with mean intentions from the opening bell, but in the early rounds it was Barker who was more precise and crisp with his punches. Geale, as is his style, was quirky and threw a lot of wide, winging punches that were easily blocked.
In the sixth round, Geale connected with a right hand on the top of Barker's head, followed by an absolutely devastating left to the body that felled the challenger. He rose, barely, at the count of nine and appeared on the verge of being stopped.
But Barker showed the heart of a champion, and came back to not only compete, but to take over the remaining rounds down the stretch and earn a deserved victory.
The evening opened with a bang, with Kiko Martinez (29-4, 21 KO) securing his first world championship by stopping Jhonatan Romero (23-1, 12 KO) in the sixth round of an entertaining scrap.
The 27 year old Martinez utilized a blistering attack along the ropes to systematically breakdown Romero, and with the former champion eating a steady diet of huge power punches, referee David Fields was forced to step-in and end the contest.
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