Sixteen-time world champion Iman Barlow faces top Italian in bid to erase memory of defeat

Iman Barlow, pictured with coach and dad Mark and brother Thai EMN-180221-132627002
Iman Barlow, pictured with coach and dad Mark and brother Thai EMN-180221-132627002
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Sixteen-time Thai and kick boxing world champion Iman Barlow still has room for improvement, according to her dad and instructor Mark.

The Melton fighter has become a global star of Muay Thai after a glittering career which includes just six defeats from 103 professional bouts.

WBC European champion, Jleana Valentino EMN-180221-132246002

WBC European champion, Jleana Valentino EMN-180221-132246002

But one of her shock rare defeats came last time out in November against Swedish world champion Sofia Olofsson.

It was her first loss in three years, and she is training hard to avoid a repeat in front of her beloved hometown fans next month.

Yet Iman has been lined up with another testing opponent for the Muay Thai Assassins show, as Mark looks to bring the very best out of his daughter.

The reigning WBC European champion, Jleana Valentino, from Italy, will lie in wait come fight night at the Market Tavern on Saturday, March 3.

“I picked Jleana because she is really good; she is a left-handed fighter who is fast and very strong,” he said.

“Iman needs strong fighters so she can improve. She’s still not at her best – she hasn’t peaked yet.”

The 24-year-old first stepped into the ring aged four and chalked up more than junior fights before moving into the professional ranks.

Mark added: “This bout has fight of the night written all over it.

“Iman will have to be on top form to get the win. Her footwork will have to be good and she will have to score with her shots as well.”

Another Assassin on the bill is Darum Hassan who goes into the show on the back of a good win in Norwich on Saturday.

Taking on a home fighter in a K1 contest, the Assassin also faced a noisy partisan crowd, but started well, scoring with punches and kicks.

Clearly the stronger of the two men, Darum used his knees as the pace picked up in round two, and the Norwich fighter had no response.

The Assassin tired in the third and final round which encouraged his opponent forward, but Darum still had power and took the bout on points, with all three judges giving him the verdict.

* Tickets for the Melton show are on sale from Nicko’s Fish Bar or on Facebook via the Assassins Muay Thai page.