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Darren McDermott

Black Country boxer Darren McDermott aims to step back into the big time on Saturday when he challenges for the Commonwealth middleweight title, topping a televised Hennessey Sports bill at Watford Colesseum. Dave Woodhall eyes up his prospects.

McDermott faces titleholder Darren Barker in a clash that doubles as an eliminator for the British title won by Matthew Macklin in explosive style against his fellow Brummie Wayne Elcock in March.

The 30 year old from Dudley has already made one unsuccessful challenge for the domestic crown, losing a controversial clash to Elcock last year when the referee was forced to stop the contest after just two rounds with McDermott bleeding heavily following a clash of heads.

Since then Darren has claimed he was robbed of his opportunity to become British champion, and it has to be said that he had begun the fight well against Elcock. But that was to no avail and he’s had to start all over again in 2009.

The English title was won on points against Steven Bendall in February – ironically almost a year to the day since Bendall was stopped in seven rounds when challenging Barker for the Commonwealth title – and McDermott now sees the chance to make up for lost time. He certainly has the record to back up his claims.

That defeat to Elcock was McDermott’s only defeat in a professional career that began in 2003 and has also seen 16 wins, nine inside the distance, and oen draw.

However, he’s in for a tough night against the undefeated Barker, whose 19 straight wins have included 12 stoppages. I’ve watched McDermott’s last three fights and no disrespect to him but I don’t believe he’s boxed in the same class as me,” says the champion, who hails from Barnet and will have the additional advantage of being (almost) the local man at the Hertfordshire venue.

Both fighters share a mutual respect, each having gone on record as stating that this battle will feature the best two middleweights in the country. After seeing both in action I fear that Barker will prove too strong in front of his local fans for the challenger and win a comfortable points victory, or possibly force a late stoppage. But I hope I’m wrong.

Also on the bill, to be shown live on ITV4 from 7.30, will be the next chapter in the Tyson Fury story.

Unbeaten prospect Fury, who seems to be attracting as much attention for his outspoken opinions of his fellow British heavyweights as for his explosive boxing, is due to face Ulsterman Scott Belshaw in his first scheduled eight round contest.

At 6’ 7” and with a record of 10 wins (seven stoppages) and a single loss, Belshaw should provide the Mancunian with a tougher test than most of Fury’s previous five opponents, none of whom have lasted the distance.



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