Darren Barker
Darren Barker won the IBF title with a points victory over Daniel Geale. [Lawrence Lustig]

Darren Barker has been handed a tough assignment after it was confirmed that he would defend his IBF World Middleweight title against Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on 7 December.

Barker and Sturm's teams struck an agreement where the Londoner faces the former WBA champion in Germany with a return fight in London scheduled for March should Barker lose his title.

Sturm has previously denied Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray in controversial circumstances as both British fighters believed they should have been awarded the decision.

There were protests that it was a hometown decision as Macklin lost a split decision, while Murray was deemed to have drawn with Sturm when he faced the German in Mannheim for the WBA middleweight title.

While it is notoriously difficult to gain a decision in Germany, Barker enters the contest as the champion after finally realising his dream and claiming the IBF belt with a hard fought victory over Australian Daniel Geale.

Having won the world title, Barker's promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that Sturm was the first name mentioned by the new champion who is extremely confident of holding onto his belt.

"We have been in discussions with Felix Sturm's team since the Daniel Geale fight, and with purse bids approaching they made their intentions quite clear," said Hearn.

"Felix is the fight we want both financially and from a legacy perspective and once we were able to introduce our necessary demands, which included a potential second fight in the UK and neutral officials, then this was an opportunity Darren could not turn down.

"Even though defeat would lead to an immediate rematch in London, we are all confident that Darren will defend his title in style on December 7 in Germany."

Sturm will certainly represent a tough assignment for Barker, with the 34 year old having held his WBA title for some six years before being dethroned by Geale in September 2012.