Wembley Arena Round up

10/03/2013 10:00

Darren Barker stopped Simone Rotolo after four rounds to claim the vacant IBF Inter-Continential middleweight title on Saturday night.

Rotolo was forced to withdraw due to a hand injury before the start of the fifth round, although the 37-year-old had probably had enough after Barker had dominated every session.


 The 30-year-old Barker, now 25-1, staggered Rotolo with a nice overhand right which was followed by a flurry of punches with sent him to the canvas towards the end of the first round. The Italian managed to re-gather himself from then on, and he did well to keep on his feet against the stonger and sharper Barker but was only ever really in survival mode.

In the fourth Rotolo significantly backed off, avoiding the fight and shaking his hand in obvious pain until the end of the round came when Rotolo retired on his stool.

"I'm ready to push on now. There's the obvious domestic fights and world title fights, I'm game, I'll fight any of them. It just takes two of us to get the ball rolling and it could be rematches, trilogies, whatever," said Barker after the fight.

Also on the bill

Lee Purdy stopped Mexican veteran Cosme Rivera in the ninth round to retain his IBF International welterweight title.

The 36-year-old Rivera, who took the fight on six days notice after Carson Jones pulled out through illness, put on a brave effort but was second best from the offset.

Purdy, now 20-3-1, had too much power and strengh for Rivera, floored his opponent just a minute into the fight with a right to the temple which set the tone for the contest.

A right hand cut Rivera in the seventh and although he responded by rattling Purdy in the eighth, he never remotely looked like causing the upset.

More solid punches in the ninith caused the cut to worsen and the ringside doctor made the right decision to stop the fight to spare Rivera from futher punishment.

Meanwhile super middleweight George Groves needed just three rounds to dispatch Dario Balmaceda in his first fight under the Matchroom banner.

Groves, now 17-0, maintained a high workrate throghout and threatened an early finish from the start.

Weighing in three pounds over the super middleweight limit and looking significatly big at the weight Groves hurt Balmaceda with a right hook in the opening round as he dominated his overmatched opponent.

A right hook to the body put the Argentine down in the second round, yet with the stoppage appearing imminent the bell was to follow even if serving only to delay the inevitable.

The finish came 58 seconds into the third with Balmaceda backed up against the ropes, Groves throwing a right hook to the head which his opponent, having taken a knee and clearly out of his depth, was counted out.

Groves will next fight on the Froch-Kessler undercard against what should be a better level of opposition.