Darren Barker achieved “all he ever wanted” in his career according to promoter Eddie Hearn and he believes the now retired Barnet boxer has been an “exemplary role model” for young fighters.
The 31-year-old, as expected, confirmed today he would hang up his gloves due to a hip injury he sustained in his final bout against Felix Sturm in December.
It brings an end to a nine-year career which saw Barker win the Southern Area, British, Commonwealth, European and IBF World middleweight titles.
Barker, an ardent Chelsea fan, was the first fighter Hearn signed for Matchroom Sport and he led the tributes to the Middleweight.
“It is with both sadness and joy that Darren Barker announces his retirement from the sport today,” said Hearn.
“Darren has been an exemplary role model for any young fighter and a wonderful ambassador for boxing.”
He continued: “Darren has overcome many adversities in his career. The greatest was the loss of his brother Gary at just 19 but a series of career-threatening injuries have made Darren's journey even more remarkable.
"No-one will ever forget that magical night in Atlantic City on August 17 2014, when Darren realised his dream by capturing the IBF World middleweight title against Daniel Geale.
“Unable to run in his preparation for that fight, Darren adapted his training and summoned the most incredible amount of mental desire to win.
“I will never forget Michael Buffer’s words 'and the new', a moment that made us all so proud but no one more than his late brother Gary.
“I feel that night took a piece of Darren's soul and whilst in his preparation for the Sturm fight he showed the same amount of intensity and desire, the damage on his body and numerous operations meant that he was unable to give Felix the fight he needed to defend his title.
“After the changing room tears, a visit to the hospital for treatment to his hip and the disappointment of losing his World title, Darren's family a friends made their way back to the hotel.
“We shared a beer and just by looking in his eyes I knew it was all over but Darren Barker was at peace, the struggle was over but he had achieved all he ever wanted.”