THAI boxing sensation Iman Barlow is one step closer to becoming a world superstar after impressing on a big European show last weekend.
The 19-year-old Thai boxing champion is set to sign a six-fight contract with global fight promoters Enfusion following her performance in Barcelona on Saturday night.
Iman was invited to the Enfusion show to fight Maribel de Sousa at just a few weeks notice after the Spaniard’s original opponent withdrew.
A dominant points victory in the three-round contest and a crowd-pleasing style caught the eye of Enfusion producer Edwin Van Os.
She said: “Everyone was saying afterwards I was the best fighter on the night, and now I’ve got a new lot of fans in Spain too. The whole thing was amazing.
“I’m the first person from England to be signed by Enfusion which is overwhelming. It’s hard enough for girls to get signed as it is.”
The fight was overseen by Iman’s dad and coach Mark who returned to the UK on Sunday before flying out to Turkey 24 hours later to coach the UK junior squad at the World Championships.
He said: “She was a tough girl, but Iman smashed her. She used push kicks to keep her away and after she landed a few big kicks it opened things up.
“The show was broadcast live to 100 countries and had the world’s top K1 fighters so we thought we’d probably be on the undercard, but Iman was fourth from the top of the bill.
“We have been to some top shows, but this was something else. She got mobbed after the fight by trainers, fighters and fans.”
When Mark returns, all attention will turn to Iman’s massive upcoming world title fight against Alexis Rufus on March 30 at the O2 in London.
Rufus has been a dominant figure in the sport for many years, but even at the age of 34 is still keen to retain her crown and stop the new kid on the block.
Iman may be the emerging superstar, but she is massively experienced and a veteran of 166 fights since first climbing into the ring as a four-year-old.
She said: “I know it isn’t going to be an easy fight. She has tried to get some banter going between us, but I’m just ignoring it and concentrating on the fight.”
Mark added: “Iman is seen as the next big thing, and that’s what Alexis used to be. Technically she is very aggressive.
“Iman wins her fights by pushing the other girl back, but I don’t think she will be able to do that against her. We have been working on a different plan for this fight.”