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Sturm beats Barker by TKO for IBF belt

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) - Felix Sturm stopped defending champion Darren Barker in the second round to take the Briton's IBF middleweight title Saturday night.

Former WBA champion Sturm twice knocked Barker to the canvas and looked set to finish him off when the towel was thrown in. Referee Mark Nelson called it off 2:09 into the round.

''I hit him well with my swings,'' said Sturm, a German of Bosnian descent. ''We worked on that in training. I also worked on my hip rotation and was more stable than before.''

Barker, who pointed at his hip after going down the second time, was limping and clearly in major discomfort. The Londoner previously had two hip replacement operations. He was taken to a hospital after the bout to assess the extent of his injury.

''It's good that it was short. My wife didn't have to suffer so much,'' said Sturm, who dedicated his win to her. ''She deserves this belt more than I.''

He became the first German to win four world titles and improved to 38-3-2 with his 17th knockout. Barker dropped to 26-2.

Sturm added that he was looking forward to a rematch in England early next year, though it remains to be seen if there will be one, depending on the extent of Barker's hip injury.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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