Australia’s Daniel Geale has lost the IBF middleweight boxing title to Englishman Darren Barker on a 12-round split points decision in Atlantic City.
Geale came within a split second of winning the fight as Barker barely beat the count in the sixth after being dropped by a left hand body shot.
Geale tried furiously to end the fight in the seconds after Barker got up, but the Englishman threw several shots in the closing seconds of the round.
One judge scored the fight 114-113 to Geale, while the other two had Barker ahead 114-113 and 116-111.
Barker outworked Geale over the closing rounds, though Geale clearly won the 12th.
Geale lost for just the second time in 31 professional fights.
Geale is renowned for being dominant over the closing rounds, but it was Barker who finished the stronger apart from the last.
Right from the early rounds Barker showed he was going to be a formidable opponent, landing more power punches.
Geale also scored well with some right hands, but Barker was often able to land first.
Barker was warned by referee Eddie Cotton for pushing down Geale’s head.
He was also warned for punching low, though surprisingly the caution came after Geale landed a low blow.
“I’m not going to whinge and cry and carry on,” Geale said.
“The thing is it didn’t go my way tonight, I’m very disappointed, don’t get me wrong.
“I worked so hard for that, and put everything into that.
“I hurt him throughout the fight.”