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Darren Barker proposes at Wembley Stadium

Knocked off her feet! Boxer Barker proposes via Wembley scoreboard… but did he get the answer he was looking for

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

00:57 GMT, 14 February 2013

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UPDATED:

01:32 GMT, 14 February 2013

Roses Check. Chocolates Check. Dinner at a fancy restaurant Check.

As Valentine's Day dawns, men up and down the country will be hoping they’ve finally got it right.

But they will have to go some to beat the efforts of boxer Darren Barker who proposed to his girlfriend Gemma at Wembley Stadium.

The big question: Darren Barker proposed to girlfriend Gemma at Wembley Stadium

The big question: Darren Barker proposed to girlfriend Gemma at Wembley Stadium

The middleweight, who was at the ground
to promote his next fight at Wembley Arena on March 9, used the giant scoreboard to ask the all-important question – and the answer was a
resounding 'Yes'.

'It was short notice; I knew someone at Wembley and they said I could do it on the scoreboard,' Barker told Sportsmail. 'I’ve wanted to do it for a while, I’ve been with Gemma for 12 years so it was overdue; she’s been long suffering but she's over the moon.

'She didn’t think I had it in me; she’s a happy woman thankfully.'

Having pulled out all the stops for his proposal, Barker expects to get off lightly today.

'She’ll get a nice card from Hallmark and that will be her lot,' he joked. 'It’s what she’ll do for me, that’s the question!'

Darren Barker

Darren Barker

Sealed with a kiss: Barker got the answer he was looking for when he proposed at Wembley

With his next fight on the horizon, Barker has put the engagement party on hold.

'We went out for a bit of lunch, she had a glass of wine but I was on the mineral water! We’ll wait until after the fight.'

Gemma later tweeted: 'I was at
Wembley Stadium earlier where Darren was having a photo shoot and doing a
bit for the press…..I said yes!

'I'm
over the moon to be engaged was so lovely and we were lucky to have
some amazing photos taken on the pitch under the sign xxx'

The 30-year-old Chelsea fan, who expects to tie the knot next year, also got his hands on the FA Cup ahead of the Blue's replay against Brentford on Sunday.

Up for the cup: Chelsea fan Barker

Up for the cup: Chelsea fan Barker

'It was good getting hold of the FA
Cup,' he said. 'Brentford had their bit of glory getting a replay at
Stamford Bridge but I think you’ll see the true professionalism come
through now.'

Chelsea have struggled this season and the FA Cup is their only realistic chance of domestic silverware.

'In some respects I would rather have
gone right out of Europe,' Barker admitted.

'The Europa League is a bit
of a nightmare with the added fixtures and travelling. It’s second best
to the Champions League and we only want the best at Chelsea. I’d
rather win the FA Cup.'

After a long lay-off with injury, Barker returned to the ring in December when he stopped Kerry Hope inside four rounds.

With just over three weeks to go until the first bell, Barker's opponent has yet to be confirmed but he revealed to Sportsmail that a deal is close.

'It looks like being Simone Rotolo who I
was supposed to fight in September when I pulled out injured so I
suppose there’s a bit of unfinished business there,' he said.

'We won’t take him lightly as he’s a good
fighter and an experienced opponent. We were looking for a top 10
opponent but everyone’s either busy or holding out for a world title
shot.

'The next fight after this will be huge, either a big domestic dust-up or a world title shot.'

And when his big moment arrives, Barker would love nothing more than to fight at Stamford Bridge.

'It would be a real honour to fight at the Bridge,' he said. 'I’ve been going there for years and years as a kid and to fight there, I’d really have to pinch myself.

'It would have to be a big world title fight to fill a stadium like that.'

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London 2012 Olympics: Bradley Wiggins parties with Paul Weller

Will the real Modfather please stand up Wiggins still revelling in gold triumph as he parties with idol Weller at secret Stone Roses gig

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UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 7 August 2012

Team GB cycling gold medallist Bradley Wiggins hit the town on Monday night with one of his heroes: Paul Weller.

The Modfather and Wiggins showcased their matching mod hairstyles as they attended Adidas Underground in east London, where the Stone Roses played a secret gig.

The time trial gold medal winner was out with one of his idols in Weller, who was the lead singer of British band The Jam, and the pair posed for a number of photographs together.

Which is which Bradley Wiggins (left) partied with Paul Weller (left) at a secret Stone Roses gig

Which is which Bradley Wiggins (left) partied with Paul Weller (left) at a secret Stone Roses gig

Golden generation: Wiggins posed with Jessica Ennis with his gold medal

Golden generation: Wiggins posed with his gold medal at the stone roses gig

Golden generation: Wiggins posed with his gold medal at the Stone Roses gig, and with Jessica Ennis (left)

But Weller is clearly a fan of Wiggins too. After the 32-year-old took the gold medal as the penultimate rider of the time trial at the London Games earlier this month, Weller tweeted his congratulations for the Team GB cyclist.

He said on his official Twitter page: 'Gold for @bradwiggins! Huge congratulations from all at Paul Weller HQ'

Weller was one of the most influential figures in the late-Seventies mod movement which has clearly influenced Wiggins' styling and dress sense.

In fact, with his mutton chop sideburns, skinny tie and tailored, navy suit, all Wiggins is missing is a Vespa scooter to complete the mod look.

Like old pals: Wiggins and Weller stand arm in arm as they pose for pictures at the gig

Like old pals: Wiggins and Weller stand arm in arm as they pose for pictures at the gig

Similar: Bradley Wiggins and Paul Weller have a similar style

Similar: Bradley Wiggins and Paul Weller have a similar style

Idols: Bradley Wiggins and Paul Weller have a similar style as they attended the party

Another winner: Pete Reed also won gold at the London Games

Jessica Ennis also looked to be enjoying herself, but appears to have forgotten her medal

Pete Reed (left) and Ennis looked as though they were enjoying the event

He towers over the 54-year-old rock star as the pair stand with their arms around one another.

Later in the night, Wiggins partnered up with another of Team GB's gold medal-winners, Jessica Ennis, for some pictures.

Ennis won the 800 metres event in the heptathlon on Saturday to claim gold, the first of three in track and field events on the day.

Greg Rutherford (long jump) and Mo Farah (10,000m) won their events to round off a memorable day for British athletics, as the team won a total of eight golds on Saturday.

Other medal winners turned up at the party in east London including rower Pete Reed.

Looking sharp: Wiggins donned a navy suit and skinny tie to complete the mod look

Looking sharp: Wiggins donned a navy suit and skinny tie to complete the mod look

Looking sharp: Wiggins donned a navy suit and skinny tie to complete the mod look

Here come the celebrities: Rapper Example also attended the party

Here come the celebrities: Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles also attended the party

Here come the celebrities: Rapper Example (left) and Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles (right) also attended the party

The guests – among them celebrities including Chris Moyles,Daisy Lowe and Rosamund Pike – were treated to Absolut vodka cocktails and were serenaded by the vastly popular Manchester band The Stone Roses, who are coming off the back of their reunion tour.

Wiggins made history as he became the first man to win the Tour de France and the Olympic gold in the same year, and has been revelling in this since his time trial victory last Wednesday.

After appearing on stage in front of 100,000 people at Hyde Park after his victory, Wiggins told Absolute Radio: 'The one thing with an endurance sport, we aren't blessed with incredible bodies because we have to be very skinny.

'We have to look very lean and I think one of the great things about being an athletic sprinter like Chris Hoy is that you've got an amazing body to show off.

'We just look like Rodney Trotter. We don't look at all athletic.'

Wiggins partied on Monday night in the city where he began his path to cycling greatness. As a child, the Tour winner began cycling around Hyde Park, where he appeared in front of swathes of Team GB fans last week.

If you've got one, flaunt it: Pete Reed shows off his medals

Jessica Ennis seems to have found her gold medal

If you've got one, flaunt it: Reed shows off his two medals (left) and Ennis appears to have found hers

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England pair Samit Patel and Jonny Bairstow released

Patel and Bairstow hot-foot back to county action as England releases pair for T20

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UPDATED:

13:24 GMT, 29 June 2012

England have released Samit Patel and Jonny Bairstow from their NatWest Series squad, to play for their counties in Friends Life t20 matches on Friday.

Patel will therefore travel to Nottingham to take on Durham, and Bairstow will journey a little further north for Yorkshire's Roses match at Headingley.

County calling: Samit Patel and Jonny Bairstow have been released by England

County calling: Samit Patel and Jonny Bairstow have been released by England

County calling: Samit Patel and Jonny Bairstow have been released by England

All-rounder Patel, batsman Bairstow and fast bowler Jade Dernbach were the three players not selected to face Australia at Lord's in the first one-day international.

Patel and Bairstow are due to report back on Saturday to London, where England will face Australia again at the Kia Oval on Sunday.

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Kell Brook confident of beatnig Matthew Hatton

Brook promises explosive fight as Britain's next star gears up for Hatton war

PUBLISHED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

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UPDATED:

11:25 GMT, 17 March 2012

Kell Brook has vowed to thrive on the pressure of topping the bill in front of 10,000 fans when he fights Matthew Hatton in his home city of Sheffield tonight.

The unbeaten Yorkshireman takes on Manchester veteran Hatton in an intriguing welterweight battle at the Steel City's Motorpoint Arena.

Brook admits he is taking a risk by facing such a dangerous opponent when he is so close to a world title opportunity, having revealed he took a fight with Hatton rather than push on with negotiations for a shot at one of the major belts.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

However, the 25-year-old insists it is a risk worth taking should he deliver on his promise to 'smash' Hatton and make a statement against a fighter respected across the world.

Brook, who has attracted a crowd of nearly 10,000 to his hometown venue, said: 'There's pressure on me now because of all the tickets I've sold and the profile of the fight.

'But I thrive on that pressure. It's going to be a proper fight that lives up to the hype and the expectation levels.

'They've called it 'War of the Roses' and, believe you me, we're going to get in there and have one hell of a fight.

'When all's said and done you're going to see an explosive fight.

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

War of the Roses: Kell Brook (right) and Matthew Hatton face off at the weigh-in

'It's a risk because we didn't need to take this fight but I wanted it. It's captured the public's imagination, it's been on the horizon for years and we've finally got it on.'

Brook (26-0, 18KOs) added: 'We've sold around 10,000 tickets for this and you start wondering how much demand there would be to see a world title fight in Sheffield.'

Brook will start as the heavy favourite with bookmakers pricing Hatton as generously as 6-1. Hatton (42-5-2, 16KOs) has concealed any irritation at being regarded as such a glaring underdog.

'All the pressure is on Kell, going into this fight,' he said. 'He's the man fighting at home, he's the favourite to win, and he puts even more pressure on himself by making comments like he's been making, about 'smashing me' et cetera.

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

On the rise: Brook is seen by many as Britain's next world champion

'There's no pressure on me. Talk is cheap, and I'll do my talking on Saturday night. He's been making a lot of big noises and he's got to back it up now.

'I don't dislike Kell Brook. He's just in the way of what I want to achieve in the sport in order to provide myself and my family with a better life.

'He'll just be brushed aside on Saturday night. It's not personal.'

On the undercard in South Yorkshire, exciting super-bantamweight prospect Carl Frampton, from Belfast, defends his Commonwealth crown against Prosper Ankrah, while Surrey-based Pole Grzegorz Proksa defends his European middleweight title against Wales' Kerry Hope.