Muay Thai Grand Prix: Iman Barlow hits form to record impressive o2 victory

Iman Barlow and Portuguese opponent Maria Lobo PHOTO: Rakowska Photography EMN-160329-182037002

Iman Barlow and Portuguese opponent Maria Lobo PHOTO: Rakowska Photography EMN-160329-182037002

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Melton’s world Thai boxing champion Iman Barlow came through a tough test as she competed on a star-studded bill at the o2 Arena, in London, on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old Assassin featured prominently on a 22-fight card at the Muay Thai Grand Prix show which included world class fighters from across the world.

Iman lands a kick during the high profile Muay Thai contest PHOTO: Rakowska Photography EMN-160330-095605002

Iman lands a kick during the high profile Muay Thai contest PHOTO: Rakowska Photography EMN-160330-095605002

It was the first-ever show of its kind to be broadcast live on Freeview television.

Iman took on highly-rated Portuguese opponent Maria Lobo who spent three weeks training in Thailand to prepare for the fight.

The Assassins trained Iman at their Melton gym and came up with a battle plan to combat the hard-kicking Portuguese.

The Melton fighter stuck to the strategy for the first round and dominated the opening three minutes, but in the next, Lobo upped the pace.

Iman got the verdict over a tireless opponent Photo: Rakowska Photography EMN-160330-095555002

Iman got the verdict over a tireless opponent Photo: Rakowska Photography EMN-160330-095555002

She tried to unsettle the Assassin who was urged to use her strong kicks which were scoring well and clearly having an effect. Lobo looked to get in close to avoid the kicks and use her knees, but Iman edged a closer second round.

Iman caught Lobo’s kicks several times and dumped her rival on the canvas in the next. The Portuguese again tried to respond by getting in close, resulting in a clash of heads and a lump to Iman’s forehead.

The Melton fighter used her front kicks and caught Lobo several times with jumping knees as she dominated the fourth, leaving the Portuguese fighter with no alternative but to seek a knockout in the fifth and final round.

All Iman had to do was get through the round, but instead she took the fight to her opponent as both girls came out fast.

She connected several times with big elbows on her way to a dominant win against a tough and relentless opponent.

Next up for Iman is a trip to Slovakia to defend her Enfusion world title on Saturday, April 23.

* For more information on training for adults and juniors, visit the Facebook pages of Iman Barlow or Assassins Muay Thai, or call (01664) 567491.