Barker reignited his ambitions with a four round demolition job on Kerry Hope at the ‘Christmas Cracker’ card held at London Olympia on Saturday night.
He was boxing for the first time in 14 months since challenging Sergio Martinez in Atlantic City and against fellow former European champion Hope he dispelled any question that his time out had diminished his skills.
The Barnet man now has his sights set on an eventful 2013 and another crack at world championship glory.
“I missed hearing my name and it's fantastic to be back, it was enjoyable,” said Barker. “I wasn't that nervous as the preparation for tonight was fantastic, I just thoroughly enjoyed it.
“Kerry deserves respect as he's a former European champion, and I dismantled him over four rounds so that's important to me and it proves to me that I belong at the highest level.
“If I had lost tonight or put in a bad performance, I would've called it a day, 100 per cent, because you cannot mess about in this sport. You have to do it properly and that performance has given me a lot of encouragement.
“I think I have another three or four years in the game and I want the big fights, to test myself against the World level operators. I've tasted that World level and I want to get back up there.
“I badly want to fight Martin Murray and Matthew Macklin and I am sure they want the fights too because they are fantastic fighters and great fights the fans want.
“There were a lot of frustrations coming out of me in there, not just for me but also for Eddie Hearn and Tony Sims and all the people who have stood by me through all of the injuries. I want to pay them all back with big fights and big wins.”