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10 January 2011, 14:41
A judge has praised top middleweight boxer Darren Barker for intervening in a street brawl which left him unconscious.
The 28-year-old European and British and Commonwealth champion, unbeaten in 22 bouts, was left out for the count when he was set upon by a gang of thugs following an England World Cup football match.
The boxer, from Barnet, North London had been out with friends watching the England - Slovenia Group C clash in a Watford bar on Wednesday, June 23.
Following the 1- 0 win for Fabio Capello's team, Mr Barker went to get something to eat and saw two men fighting.
Maurice Aston, prosecuting, told St Albans Crown Court on Friday Darren Barker bravely tried to break it up but the six foot fighter, who has 14 knock outs, was soon surrounded by around ten men.
They knocked him to the floor and kicked him in the head, before fleeing leaving the 2002 Commonwealth gold medallist unconscious in the street.
Mr Aston said: "It is a case of gratuitous violence on the streets of Watford. Darren Barker, a professional boxer, had been out for the evening with friends.
"He had been drinking and watching the England game and about midnight he and a friend went to get something to eat from Subway in the High Street.
"They got their food and were eating it on a nearby bench when some trouble started behind them, with two men picking on a third.
"Mr Barker, feeling confident as a professional boxer intervened and told them to stop it.
"But all this did was make him a target and he ended up with a group of ten men around him."
Mr Barker was left needing more than £1,000 of dental work and with a nasty bruise on the back of his head as well as cuts and abrasions, the court heard.
Judge John Plumstead announced Mr Barker, who was not in court, would receive a commendation and £250 as a token sum for his public-spirited actions.
Judge Plumstead said: "Mr Barker's evening was ruined and he has been left with permanent dental problems because he tried to stop some trouble.
"He is a brave man. He behaved in a way most of us are not brave enough to do and suffered as a result."
Three men involved in the incident pleaded guilty to affray, but denied playing any part in the assault.
Jake Simmons, 20, of Boundary Way, Watford and Iain Hughes, 22, also of Boundary Way were given three-month curfews Friday to Saturday from 9pm to 4am.
Lloyd Osborne, 25, of St Johns Road, Watford, has previous convictions, and was given a 12-month community order as well as the curfew.
All three were ordered to pay Mr Barker £500 compensation each and are banned from Watford town centre for three months from 10pm every night.