Melton Thai boxing world champion Iman Barlow suffers rare defeat

2017 was still another prolific year for Iman Barlow, pictured with coach and dad Mark and brother Thai, despite a rare defeat EMN-171212-170115002
2017 was still another prolific year for Iman Barlow, pictured with coach and dad Mark and brother Thai, despite a rare defeat EMN-171212-170115002
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World champion Thai boxer Iman Barlow suffered a rare defeat as she was narrowly beaten for the first time in three years in Sweden.

The 24-year-old, from Melton, travelled to Scandinavia to challenge WMC world champion Sofia Olofsson in her own backyard.

Lexi Peters (left) and Aliza Agwan, pictured with instructor Mark Barlow, won World Cup belts in Benidorm EMN-171212-165631002

Lexi Peters (left) and Aliza Agwan, pictured with instructor Mark Barlow, won World Cup belts in Benidorm EMN-171212-165631002

But fighting under different rules and scoring system, the judges narrowly ruled the fifth and deciding round in the home fighter’s favour to give Olofsson a points win.

Iman’s dad and instructor Mark said: “We knew this was going to be a tough bout, fighting away from home against the champion of this organisation who is used to these rules.

“Sofia is a very strong fighter, but we like a challenge; Iman will fight anyone her weight and will not duck an opponent.

“We were surprised by their way of scoring Muay Thai. We score it like they do in Thailand, but the WMC scoring is different.

“But Iman had fought under different rules and scoring before and had always come out with a win.”

The Assassin’s corner knew they faced an uphill battle when the judges awarded Iman the first two rounds by just one point, despite dominating them.

The next two rounds went narrowly awarded to the Swede, setting up a decisive fifth round.

“We thought we did enough to win the round,” added Mark. “But the judges saw it differently and gave the round and the bout to Sofia.

“Iman was a bit upset to lose, but she will bounce back and be stronger for it.

“She’s had an amazing year with wins in Las Vegas, Canada, Holland and Poland, winning the Muay Thai Grand Prix title, and defending her Lion Fight belt.”

Next year looks set to be another big 12 months for the Muay Thai Assassin with three bouts scheduled for the United States and another in the Middle East.

* The Assassin Thai and K1 boxing gym sent four fighters to the WKU World Cup in Benidorm.

All four reached their respective finals, with Aliza Agwan (13) maintaining her unbeaten record to claim a global title after a dominant performance.

Lexi Peters was also on excellent form to claim her biggest win, while Saxon Nugent gained valuable experience in a very narrow defeat to a reigning world champion after a good display.

Shaydon Burt fought well in the first two rounds of his final, but a lethargic third round cost him the fight, despite the Assassins corner believing he had done enough to shade the verdict.

* Stand-out Assassin at Stoke Muay Thai’s interclub event was Cery Hurst who recovered from illness in the build-up to the fight to put in a solid performance.

The following week, Aliza Agwan and Naomi Blankley faced tough opponents in Barnsley, but both eased to commanding wins.

Naomi fought again in the gym’s last fights of the year as she and Mkaylin Kneeland travelled to Luton for K1 bouts.

Up against home opponents, both fought well, with Mkaylin winning his contest and Naomi unlucky to lose hers.

* For more details on training, visit the Assassins Facebook page.