Assassins Muay Thai show: Iman Barlow adds K1 world belt to her collection

Thai boxing star Iman Barlow added yet another world title to her impressive collection at a packed hometown show on Saturday.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 27th February 2019, 12:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th February 2019, 12:10 pm
Iman Barlow secured yet another world title when she beat Czech opponent Michaela Kerleheva in Melton. Picture courtesy of Dreamcapture Photography EMN-190226-171927002
Iman Barlow secured yet another world title when she beat Czech opponent Michaela Kerleheva in Melton. Picture courtesy of Dreamcapture Photography EMN-190226-171927002

Iman was given a good fight by Czech Republic opponent Michaela Kerleheva who gave the Melton fighter a few problems in the opening two rounds at the Market Tavern.

But by the third round, the Assassin had worked out the Czech and began wearing her down.

She dominated the fourth, but her corner was given a scare between rounds with illness overcoming the home fighter.

Nathan Donovan landed the Midlands heavyweight belt after a hard-working performance over five rounds Michaela Kerleheva. Picture courtesy of Dreamcapture Photography. EMN-190226-171939002

But Iman went back out and smashed the final round and was presented with the K1 WKA belt by world president Dave Sawyer who flew over from New Zealand for the bout.

Also among the highlights of the Assassins show was the Midlands heavyweight title bout between Assassin Nathan Donovan and Birmingham fighter Bobby B.

Both gave their all, but Donovan edged each round and by the fifth was in total control to take the title on points.

Future star Arlo Musson (7) opened the show with a demonstration before 11-year-old Mustafa Agwan got the Assassins’ first win of the night in a good bout with Faizan Khan, of Ronan Thai.

Harley Cole and Mkaylin Kneeland had a change of opponent and took on Luton’s Adam Bray on a non-decision bout before another rising star Aliza Agwan (14) came out on top of a tremendous battle with Birmingham’s Ellie Garfield (Foundry Muay Thai), on points.

Lexie Peters got back to winning ways with a unanimous decision against Kat Bray in a K1 bout, and Naomi Blankley showed her strength to win a great fight with Sareeta Kaur (KO Gym, London).

First of the international contests saw Teri-dee Rubery (Bearpit Gym, Bristol) edged out by Swedish opponent Louise Nilsson, before an all-Assassin demo between Cerys Hirst and Lewis Kelly.

Joe Sharpe was up against Adam Khan, of Ronan Thai Birmingham, and it proved a frustrating points loss for his coach Mark Barlow.

“I know how much talent Joe has, he just didn’t get his shots off first.

“We kept telling him, to punch first, kick first because his opponent didn’t like Joe’s power.”

The next international bout of the evening brought a points victory for England as London’s Samantha Mcary-Whatt (Team Tieu) got the better of Swedish opponent Erica Kallijarri.

Assassin Saxon Nugent had to give weight away after a late change of opponent for his K1 bout, going up against Luton’s Kaamil Ravjani.

Both fighters went at it from the off with Saxon dealing in kicks’ to his opponent’s punches, and a draw was declared.

Jase Perkins (6) had a demonstration bout with Fred O’Donnell from Birmingham before Ollie McEwan stepped into the ring to take on Andreas Lilliecronca, of Sweden.

The assassin was at a significant height disadvantage, but showed plenty of heart before the referee stopped the fight in round three.

Barlow added: “Ollie didn’t want me to throw the towel in; he really wanted to try and finish the bout.”

The Jason Roth Trophy, for the best Assassin performance of the night, went to Michael Farrow who was involved in an entertaining contest with Seji Banjcko (Team Tieu, London).

Both fighters were well matches, bit the home fighter worked a little harder and was better in the clinch.

There was another Swedish victory when Victor Sjoo shaded London’s Nic Schale (KO Gym, London) on points before George Griffiths took on Bulgarian opponent Georgi Pavlov.

The Assassin stepped up from 58-59kg to 63kg for the night, giving up to 5lb and five years to his opponent, but this mattered little as the Melton fighter dominated the Bulgarian, knocking him out in round two.

Alexsandr Vorfi (Assassins) faced a southpaw in his first K1 bout in four years, but gradually got the measure of Spaniard Zavala Gaday and finished the fight with some excellent punch combinations.

Darum Hassan almost pulled off a dramatic comeback win for the Assassins after losing the first two rounds to Stoke Muay Thai’s Lukas Chetwynd.

But despite coming back stronger in the third and looking to dominate rounds four and five, the judges ruled the bout a draw.

Tyree Stevens had to step up a weight division to face good Spanish fighter Julio Escojadille, and went in having just recovered from a bad shoulder injury.

Yet the Assassin showed no ill effects to outclass his opponent and finish the Spaniard with a big right-hand in the second round.

There was another Spanish knockout for Thai Barlow against Daniel Gonzales who gave everything in the first round while the Assassins took his time to place shots.

But he spotted a gap in this opponents’ defence in the next round to floor Gonzales with a straight right body shot.

* Next action for the Assassins is on March 10 when 13 juniors will be fighting before Thai Barlow, George Griffiths and Darum Hassan head for Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane Stadium for a show on Saturday, March 16.