Barker loses title to Sturm

Darren Barker surrendered his IBF middleweight title to Germany's Felix Sturm after a mauling at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Londoner was twice knocked to the canvas in the second round, and moments later trainer Tony Sims threw in the towel to end his man's misery. By that stage it appeared Barker had sustained a hip injury.

Sturm lost the WBA version of the middleweight title in a split-decision loss to Australian Daniel Geale in September 2012 but has a world championship to his name again.

Given that Barker beat Geale in August on a split decision in Atlantic City, there was cause for the Englishman and his travelling supporters to be optimistic ahead of the clash with Sturm, but that soon faded.

Sturm landed several early powerful shots to the head of Barker, with the 34-year-old having easily the better of the opening round.

And while rattled Barker sought to be more positive at the start of round two, looking to push Sturm back against the ropes, the momentum was soon back with the local hero.

Sturm knocked Barker down midway through the round with a big right hand but he was quickly up. He went down again under a barrage from Sturm, and the fight looked as good as over.

Concerned by the punishment Barker was taking as he struggled physically, in came the towel from his corner to concede the belt.