Iman Barlow is a 19 year old Muay Thai fighter, fighting out of Team Assassins in Leicestershire. She holds a stand up record of 60-3-3 as well as holding a junior record of over 100 fights. Although predominantly a Muay Thai fighter, this Saturday – March 30th – Iman will step into the Enfusion Live ring, in London, to take on Alexis Rufus for the Enfusion Live K1 world title.
We caught up with the girl they call ‘Pretty Killer’ to get a few words ahead of the fight.
You train out of Assassins what’s it like training down there with all those guys?
I train in a very small gym which is run really by my family, as my dad is the head trainer/owner. Our gym is based in Leicestershire so we’re not in a big city or near to one to be honest. It’s a very quiet area. I enjoy training with everyone at Assassins, I love to help teach the juniors there and see them improve. I’d say we are a very close, friendly gym, everyone knows each other’s name and we all help each other train.
This fight is a K1 fight, do you have any full thai experience, and if so, which rule set do you prefer?
Yes I have had many full thai rules fights growing up, in Thailand and in other countries. But throughout my career I have fought in many different rules just so it allowed me to get a fight; K1, kickboxing, low kick, full thai rules. For me, though, Muay Thai will always be number one in my heart, but if a good opportunity comes up then you have to grab it with both hands and embrace it.
Can you just tell us a little about your last fight and how it went?
My last fight was in Barcelona at Enfusion Live. I didn’t realise that i was on the live bill, when I found out I was amazed. I shared the changing rooms with big names like Artur Kyshenko and Sahak Hak, who are big fighters, it was overwhelming. I was up against Maribel De Sousa. I did not know much about her but had been told she was very strong and was the best fighter in Spain. I felt like I was in control of the fight throughout all 3 rounds. I enjoy a fight when I know I am in control and try to mix it up and try different techniques to entertain the crowd. In this fight I did a lot of jumping knees.
You are taking on Alexis Rufus at Enfusion Live at the O2, do you know much about her?
I know that Alexis is a very strong and a respectable fighter who has a lot of experience.
You’re both evenly matched going in, how do you feel going in to the fight?
I feel very good about the fight. I’ve trained hard my entire career to showcase myself in front of a big crowd like this against a tough opponent, so I’m hoping to prove myself to everyone.
Have you seen any videos of her? How do you feel you match up with her?
I don’t really watch youtube videos of fighters, I leave that to my dad to be honest, but I have seen Alexis fight twice; once in Thailand when I was there to support and once in Liverpool. I feel that this match is very even and is going to be a war.
How has training been going?
Training has been going well as always and I just can’t wait to get into the ring.
Have you been trying anything different for this camp?
No, I’ve not really been training any different for this fight but I am aware of Alexis’ strong points, so I will not be surprised when I enter the ring.
This fight is for the Enfusion World Title, which is a big deal, does it add any pressure?
Yes it is a big deal. To win a world title is amazing, but to win it in front of everybody in your own country is beyond describable. I don’t think it adds any pressure, I think it makes me more determined to go out and bring it home.
What are your goals within the sport, on the whole?
My goals are to beat the best out there, to become the best. I want to inspire men, women, boys and girls within life and muay thai. I also want to showcase that women can fight and are just as good… or even better, or more entertaining as men! I’m showcasing GIRL POWER!
Lastly, why do you fight and what motivates you to do it?
I fight as I feel it separates me from being a normal girl. It makes me somebody in life. The buzz you get when fighting is just indescribable and when you win it’s just on another level, I love to make my family and friends proud of me and most of all it makes me proud of myself.
Thanks for your time Iman, any people to thank?
First I’d like to thank my family for training me, putting up with my moods and for being there; Mark Barlow, Maxine Adams and Little brother Thai Barlow. I’d like to thank my sponsors; Tuff, Gold Standard Nutrition, One Punch and Booost. I’d also like to thank Vinny and Kieran who are my managers and Steve Gladstone who have made this opportunity possible. I’d also like to thank Enfusion team, and I’m looking forward to working with them in the future. Lastly I’d like to thank all those who have ever supported me and those who continue to support me, it means the world!