Melton sporting legend announces shock retirement

Iman Barlow, who announced her retirement after a glittering 26-year careerIman Barlow, who announced her retirement after a glittering 26-year career
Iman Barlow, who announced her retirement after a glittering 26-year career
One of Melton Mowbray’s greatest ever athletes has announced her retirement.

Iman Barlow, nicknamed ‘Pretty Killer’, this week made the shock decision to end her glittering career which has seen her lift British Muay Thai and kickboxing titles and belts all over the world, as well as the UK.

She started out in the sport aged just four-years-old and went on to lose only five times in almost 250 bouts.

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Her many achievements included being a multiple winner at the Melton Times Sports Awards, including Sports Personality of the Year in 2015 Sportswoman of the Year five years ago.

Iman Barlow, with dad Mark and younger brother ThaiIman Barlow, with dad Mark and younger brother Thai
Iman Barlow, with dad Mark and younger brother Thai

Iman said she had decided to hang up her gloves this week because she wasn’t being offered enough fights in recent years.

In an emotional video she posted on her Facebook page, Iman said: “I’m now 30 and people say it is too young to retire.

"But I don’t think they realise that I have been in the sport for 26 years.

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"From a young age I sacrificed a lot in order to train, fight and become the best.”

Iman Barlow lands a kick during a 2017 boutIman Barlow lands a kick during a 2017 bout
Iman Barlow lands a kick during a 2017 bout

As a junior, Iman was unbeaten in more than 100 fights and her adult career saw her win an impressive 120 times out of 128 bouts.

She gave an insight into the remarkable dedication needed to operate at the top of her sport.

Six mornings a week she has got up at 5.50am to go running and train at 6am before going to her full time job. The process was repeated on six evenings a week after work.

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"Fighting regularly gave me a structure and purpose in my life that I never thought I had,” said the ‘Pretty Killer’.

Iman Barlow pictured after being named Melton Times Sports Personality of the Year back in 2015Iman Barlow pictured after being named Melton Times Sports Personality of the Year back in 2015
Iman Barlow pictured after being named Melton Times Sports Personality of the Year back in 2015

"That love of fighting is not as strong as it used to be.

"I’ve decided to retire on top in the way I want to.”

Iman thanked her family for their incredible support in her career, including her dad Mark, mum Maxine, a former British champion fighter and her brother Thai, who is also a fighter.

"Thank you to my dad for dedicating his life to training me, my mum for being my whole inspiration and my younger brother, Thai, for being my training partner and best friend," she added.

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