Darren Barker says he'll prove
that he deserves to be considered world class when he faces Italy's
Simone Rotolo on September 8.
The Londoner co-headlines the
season opener at the Alexandra Palace in what will be his first
fight since pushing world champion Sergio Martinez all the way last
Barker won rave reviews for his
brave performance against the pound-for-pound star and was well in
the fight before being stopped in the eleventh, and the 30-year-old
said that he proved to himself that night that he could compete at
the highest level.
"I'm my own worst enemy and
critic at times," said Barker. "I really needed to prove to myself
that I am world class for me to continue.
"If I had got whitewashed or
completely annihilated against Martinez then 100 per cent I
would've jacked it in because I'm only in this sport to get to the
heights and win a World title. In that fight I proved that I'm
world class. It was unfortunate, I perforated my eardrum and I just
couldn't continue anymore.
"It was fantastic being part of a
massive occasion like that, a big fight. I've watched so many being
a boxing fan and it was lovely taking part in one of them,
headlining in Atlantic City."
Rotolo won the Italian
middleweight title in his last outing with a final round stoppage
of Matteo Signani in March, and Barker is aware that the 36 year
old can cause him problems on the night.
"I've watched a fair bit of him,
he's quite elusive, he likes to move around on the back foot and
he's quite difficult to pin down," said Barker.
"He's had 37 fights and only lost
three, so he's experienced, he's had that many contests so he'll be
in there, he'll be durable. It'll be a case of closing down the
distance and ultimately trying to put on a good show to prove to
everyone that I belong on the world stage."