Barnet’s former world champion Darren Barker has announced his retirement from boxing.
Several figures around the 31-year-old had suggested his career was over in December after he suffered a serious hip injury in his world title defence against Felix Sturm in Germany.
Barker’s greatest moment came in August as he climbed off the canvas to defeat Daniel Geale and claim the IBF middleweight title.
His first defence was against Sturm in December but an early hip injury contributed to him being stopped in the second round of the bout.
“I’m so proud and happy at what I’ve achieved. When I won my first national title as a kid I could have retired a happy boy then so to have won all the major titles possible, I'm a very, very happy man,” said Barker.
Barker, who won British, Commonwealth and European titles as he rose up the rankings, dedicated his success to his family, friends, fans and late brother Gary, who died in a car accident in 2006.
“I did this all for my brother Gary – we did it mate,” Barker said. “I'm now looking forward to sitting back and being a keen fan and wishing all my fellow countrymen all the best in their careers.
“I would like to thank my family for their support, without them none of what I achieved would have been possible.
"To my fantastic friends and all the fans that brought tickets to my fights and travelled the country and world supporting me, I really appreciate it and thank you.”
Barker retires with a record of 26 wins, 16 stoppages and just two defeats. The first loss was in a world title fight against Sergio Martinez in 2011 while the second came at the hands of Sturm.
Injury has hampered Barker’s career in recent years but he thanked trainer Tony Sims and promoter Eddie Hearn for helping him realise his dream of becoming world champion.
He said: “Tony Sims constantly got the best out of me and he’s more than a fantastic trainer, he’s a mentor and very good friend.
"Thank you to Eddie Hearn and the rest of the guys at Matchroom Sport for getting me the big fights and elevating me to another level and ultimately getting me the fight that helped me realising a dream and I’ve also met some friends for life there.”