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Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Friday, 17 June 2011 16:17 UK

Darren Barker to fight Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City

Darren Barker
Barker is unbeaten in 23 fights

Darren Barker's clash with WBC title-holder Sergio Martinez will take place on 1 October in Atlantic City.

Londoner Barker, the European champion, will be a massive underdog against the man ranked second in The Ring magazine's pound-for-pound rankings.

But the 28-year-old is adamant he can upset his Argentine rival, who has 47 wins and two defeats from 51 fights.

"I have huge respect for him but he has the title that I've always wanted and I'm coming to take it," said Barker.

"Fighting in America for the first time is really exciting, too, and I hope that my loyal fans will come over in droves to be a part of the biggest night of my career.

Being universally recognised as the pound-for-pound king is my ultimate goal and I won't stop until I've achieved that

Sergio Martinez

"I am in boxing to test myself against the very best in the business and I believe I can shock the world on 1 October."

Barker's promoter Eddie Hearn added: "Matchroom Sport have secured a block of seats for Darren's fans in the Boardwalk Hall and we all know that British fight fans create a fantastic atmosphere when they travel to America.

"This is going to be a wonderful occasion for both Darren and British boxing and I'm sure the fans will come over in great numbers to get behind him."

Martinez, 36, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and now living in California, is coming off a stellar 2010, during which he outclassed Kelly Pavlik to unify the middleweight division and knocked out Paul Williams in two rounds, both at Boardwalk Hall.

Martinez then kicked off 2011 with a bang when he dropped Sergiy Dzinziruk five times en route to an eighth-round stoppage win.

"I know Darren Barker is a tough challenger and will bring a loud contingent of fans, but so did Kelly Pavlik when I fought at Boardwalk Hall last April," said Martinez.

"Being universally recognised as the pound-for-pound king is my ultimate goal and I won't stop until I've achieved that."


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