Iman Barlow raring to go for homecoming world title clash

Iman won all five rounds in Las Vegas according to all three of the judges scorecards Pictuire: B&P Photography EMN-170216-154630002
Iman won all five rounds in Las Vegas according to all three of the judges scorecards Pictuire: B&P Photography EMN-170216-154630002
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Globe-trotting world champion Iman Barlow is keen to impress her raucous home support when she makes her Melton fight return next month.

The 23-year-old recently returned from a week in Las Vegas where she defended her Lionfight world belt in front of a huge crowd in one of the headline bouts.

Uslu is overwhelmed in Las Vegas Picture: B&P Photography EMN-170216-155230002

Uslu is overwhelmed in Las Vegas Picture: B&P Photography EMN-170216-155230002

The big fights are coming thick and fast this year as she prepares to defend her WKTA world title at the Market Tavern on Saturday, March 4.

And Iman insists that despite all of the glitz, glamour and media attention in the United States earlier this month, hometown shows with the Muay Thai Assassins remain a unique experience.

She said: “They don’t happen as often now, but when I come back to Melton I really enjoy it because it’s when all my friends and family see me fight.

“The home crowd goes crazy as well and that’s all you want; they even know what my walk-out song is.

Iman Barlow holds 13 world titles, but wants more Picture: B&P Photography EMN-170216-155243002

Iman Barlow holds 13 world titles, but wants more Picture: B&P Photography EMN-170216-155243002

“It gives you more incentive to perform at your best.”

As well as the staggering 13 world titles already in the bank, Iman is bidding to add two more to her tally over the coming months.

She will fight for the Muay Thai Grand Prix title at another huge show at the O2, in London, and then heads to Sweden in June to try and land the WMC (World Muay Thai Council) belt – one of the biggest in the sport.

But first up for the Pretty Killer is a swift reunion with Ilsury Hendrikse in Melton to defend the WTKA belt she won last year.

Their previous encounter came just three months ago, when Iman convincingly beat her in the Enfusion world title showdown by a unanimous decision.

But the Colombian fighter was eager for a chance to avenge the defeat.

“Straightaway she asked for a rematch; we hadn’t even had the decision,” Iman added. “Obviously I didn’t teach her a big enough lesson the first time round.”

After landing back in Britain from the US, the Muay Thai Assassin had just three days off before starting preparations for the upcoming show.

But a commanding display against German opponent Meryem Uslu meant she was unhindered by any physical after-effects from the Vegas clash.

It was a performance which persuaded an experienced American commentator to describe Iman as the best pound-for-pound Muay Thai boxer in the world, male or female.

“I was on a different level that night,” she said.

“It was a hard fight, but I was in control for most of it and didn’t take too much punishment. I had a black eye from an accidental clash of heads, but my shins were fine so I was able to go straight back to training full time.”

The Melton show, which gets under way at 6pm, will feature around 20 bouts in total, most of which will feature Assassins.

Tickets are on sale from Nicko’s Fish Bar, any Assassin member, via their Facebook page, or on the door.