Zelfa Barrett: If I can get a win over Jordan Gill, the world is mine

Zelfa Barrett faces Jordan Gill live on DAZN from Manchester, England

Zelfa Barrett goes up against Jordan Gill in the main event at AO Arena in Manchester, England on Saturday, April 13. The all-British contest pits the former world title challenger against the former European champion. The bout is scheduled for 12 rounds at super featherweight.

Making his first ring appearance for the year, Zelfa Barrett (30-2, 16 KOs) targets his third straight victory. The 30-year-old won two of his previous bouts last year by decision against Costin Ion and Jason Sanchez. In November 2022, the Manchester native challenged Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov for the vacant IBF super featherweight title, but was stopped in the ninth round.

29-year-old Jordan Gill (28-2-1, 9 KOs) also fights for the first time in 2024 and looks for his second win in a row. The native of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire eliminated Michael Conlan in the seventh round last time out in December 2023.

“Being from Manchester and topping the AO Arena, or the MEN Arena, as a lot of people will always call it, is a massive achievement,” said Zelfa Barrett. “I always knew at one point in my life I’d top it. Watching Hatton there, Crolla, Quigg – that motivates me. That makes me want to eat good and train hard. It makes me work harder in the gym because it’s my moment, it’s my time. People are spending their hard-earned money coming to see me. I’m not going to disappoint them.”

“I’ve always wanted to headline the arena, watching and being in the changing rooms with Anthony Crolla and Scott Quigg, I’d always thought one day I’ll be there winning a World Title. This fight is like a World Title because I know how good Jordan Gill is. He’s well-schooled, got a good team around him, so it’s given me the grit in my teeth to perform.”

“We’re similar in styles and that’s why I wanted to spar him back in the day because we’re similar, it’s funny how the tables turn and we’re now fighting each other. It’s an exciting fight and all of my people will be there. We’ve prepared for the best version of Jordan, so that’s going to bring the best version of me out. We know we’ve got a fighter who’s got a good trainer, got a good team around him, so my mind is on the job.”

Zelfa Barrett: Manchester has been screaming for a fighter and I’m top of the tree

Zelfa Barrett
Zelfa Barrett | Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

“Not many people from my area reach the heights that I’m reaching,” said Barrett. “A lot of people my age are in jail or have died. We’ve all done the same stuff as estate kids, been through the same things as estate kids. That’s why people respect me, because I’m from the same place they’re from. I’ve done the same things they’ve done. I had a great family to support me. Look at me now, topping the AO Arena. It’s a big thing for me, for my family and for Manchester.”

“We just did what estate kids done – we made fun out of nothing. We were all like a little family. There’s memories there. Good memories, bad memories, crazy memories, life threatening memories. What’s life without memories? To break that mould and to become somebody. To prove to people and to show people around and people younger than me that if you sacrifice and dedicate yourself to anything that you want to do or overcome in life you can.”

“The things that are happening to me in my life, it’s like I’ve lived two lives. Obviously I lost my mum, I lost my brother – that would turn a lot of people insane. I just use that pain in my life and put it into boxing. I use it to motivate me to become a better person, to become a somebody. My mum would have been proud of me, and she is now. She’s my best friend. Not just my mum, literally my best friend.”

“Manchester has been screaming for a fighter and I’m top of the tree. If I can get a win over Jordan, the world is mine. Respect goes out of the window on fight night; its dog eat dog. I just believe I’m a better fighter than Jordan – he hits hard, but I hit harder. He’s fast, but I’m faster. There’s no way I’m going to lose this fight.”

Among the bouts featured on Gill vs Barrett undercard, English IBF super bantamweight champion Ellie Scotney (8-0) meets the WBO titleholder Segolene Lefebvre (18-0, 1 KO) of France. The pair squares off in the world championship unification.

As well, Rhiannon Dixon (9-0, 1 KO) of England takes on Karen Elizabeth Carabajal (21-1, 3 KOs) of Argentina. The pair battles it out for the vacant WBO lightweight title.

Plus, Manchester’s Michael Gomez Jnr (20-1, 5 KOs) defends his British super featherweight title against Kane Baker (19-10-2, 1 KO) of Birmingham. In addition, Jordan Flynn (9-0-1, 1 KO) of the UK meets Tampela Maharusi (10-4-4, 5 KOs) of Tanzania at lightweight.

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a former Muay Thai fighter, sports manager and editor at FIGHTMAG.

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