British middleweight Darren Barker won the IBF championship Saturday night with a split decision over defending champ Daniel Geale of Australia.
Barker (26-1) received winning scores of 116-111 from judge Barbara Perez and 114-113 from Carlos Ortiz. Judge Alan Rubenstein scored it 114-113 for Geale (29-1).
Barker leaped in jubilation when the scores were read at Revel Casino-Hotel then collapsed to the canvas while his handlers celebrated in the ring. He won the belt almost two years after an 11th-round TKO loss to WBC middleweight champ Sergio Martinez at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
Barker prevailed in a grueling fight that had fans at Revel's Ovation Hall on their feet throughout.
''I take my hat off to him,'' Barker said. ''He's a very tough man and he came in with the belt.''
Geale nearly won the fight in the sixth round.
With about a minute left in the round, he landed a powerful left hook to Barker's liver that forced Barker to drop to all fours in obvious pain. Bark...