Ahead of his first defence of his Commonwealth crown against Jordan McCorry on Saturday, Zelfa Barrett takes time out to talk to 32Red. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
“I had a lot of demons before the fight with Lyon Woodstock. It was a big, important fight and you can’t help thinking: ‘This is my last opportunity.’
“My performance that night doesn’t justify how good Woodstock is. Lyon got ready for that fight. He was sparring Lee Selby and one of the Walsh brothers. It just showed the levels and it was my first real fight in a year.
“My timing was off. Only me and my uncle understand. It was my first real fight since Ronnie Clark and I did 12 rounds coming off an achilles injury. Sparring and ring fighting are different. There were times when I was catching Woodstock on the neck rather than on the chin. This next fight is gonna be a different ball game.
“I had a lot of people messaging saying that they’d judged me on the Ronnie Clark fight but now they can see that I can fight. A lot of people’s opinions of me had changed. Something else worked in my favour that night, there was no other boxing on TV. There was only that show so every single Tom, Dick, and Harry watched me.
“I know my past, everybody has seen my fights, and all eyes are going to be on me from now on.
“I’m ready for this guy. I’m gonna look good against him [McCorry]. I won’t underestimate him and one thing I know is that he’s gonna come. He’s gonna try and do everything to win. I’m expecting the head to go in, to be hit low, to be hit in the body. I know what this guy’s gonna do. I’m so ready for him and I’m gonna shine. He’s gonna make me look good because he’s going to be ready. The more ready he is, the better I’ll be because he will open up.
“I know what people want to see. They want blood, sweat, tears, and knockouts, let’s be real. Twelve rounds is an accomplishment but if you’re going to do it, make it look good. Boxing is an entertainment business and people want to be entertained. Don’t get me wrong, safety and winning is the key but if you’ve got the ability to shine and knock people out then do it. That’s what separates the fish from the sharks.
“I hit harder than Archie Sharp and I hit faster than Archie Sharp. I know what I’m throwing too. You know why Sharp is good? Because he doesn’t even know what he’s going to throw. When you watch him he looks unbalanced and then throws some mad shot. I’m gonna box the way I boxed against Woodstock but I’m gonna be much more spiteful.
“I want to start knocking people out. My uncle Pat was the best at it and I asked him to teach me a few weeks ago. I said, ‘Pat, even though I’ve knocked people out, I wanna start putting people to bed.’ I’m willing to do the twelve rounds but people want to see knockouts. He just said ‘Alright then.’
“He’s just been tweaking what I already do. I’m putting more shoulder into things. It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s how correct you hit.
“When I win the British title – and I want Sam Bowen to beat Anthony Cacace because I want to be the first one to beat him – people will start looking at me and realising. I’ll tell you now, I’ll go to European level and win that and you’re going to see a trail of knockouts. The more they try and hit me, the more I’ll catch them.
“I’m back to being me. I feel confident. I’m not saying this in an arrogant way but when I’m in the ring I feel like I’m the best again. Anybody who gets in the ring with me know is gonna catch things. I make a lot of people miss but haven’t really made them pay. Now, it’s a different mentality. I’m gonna make them miss but now I’m gonna hurt them too.”