Flamstead author hoping for a knockout with book on boxing brothers

Author Ian Ridley with his book about boxer Darren Barker

Author Ian Ridley with his book about boxer Darren Barker - Credit: Archant

A poignant tale about former world champion boxer Darren Barker whose beloved brother, a boxing star who was tragically killed as the result of a car crash on the M1, has been co-written by a local author.

"A Dazzling Darkness: The Darren Barker Story"

"A Dazzling Darkness: The Darren Barker Story" - Credit: Photo supplied

Ian Ridley, of Flamstead, has recently released his 11th book, A Dazzling Darkness: The Darren Barker Story which was written with the boxer.

About seven years ago Ian, whose expansive sports writing experience includes being a former chief football writer for the Mail on Sunday, met Darren through a London-based therapist from whom they were both receiving counselling.

The men instantly ‘connected’ as Ian was intrigued by Darren’s “gripping back story of family tragedy”.

In the first chapter, Darren explains how his life changed dramatically upon the death of Gary, a boxing talent and “smashing brother”.

The 19 year old was taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital after his silver hire-purchase Ford Fiesta hit the central barrier and rolled just south of the Toddington services, but he died from internal injuries.

Grief-stricken, Darren could not contemplate returning to the ring after losing his boxing ‘soul-mate’.

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A Dazzling Darkness charts the lows and highs of Darren’s sporting career, with mentions of many boxing greats including Frank Bruno, Amir Khan and Carl Froch.

He met his partner, Gemma, in the early stages of his career, when she was studying graphic design at Oaklands College in St Albans.

Known by fans as “Dazzling” – a nickname bestowed upon him by a school friend – Darren also opens up about an assault he suffered when attempting to help a kid in distress in Watford, shortly after recovering from a hip operation, which resulted in him needing more than £1,000 of dental work and stitches in his head.

At a case heard at St Albans Crown Court in 2011, his attackers pleaded guilty and Judge John Plumstead said that the boxer’s evening had been “ruined and he has been left with permanent dental problems because he tried to stop some trouble. He is a brave man.”

For more information, or to buy the book, see Amazon or click here.