This is it. After seven years as a professional, Zelfa Barrett has the fight of his life.
With the world tuning in to watch this weekend’s rematch between Jospeh Parker and Dereck Chisora, Barrett has the chance to steal the show. He faces Australia-based Tanzanian, Bruno Tarimo, in an eliminator for the IBF super featherweight title. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
2021 has been a test for Barrett – who lost his beloved mum earlier this year – but he gets the opportunity to end it on something of a high on Saturday night.
For the first time, Barrett will feel the support of a busy AO Arena and this weekend could prove to be the night he cements himself as Manchester’s next great hope.
Ahead of his big night the 32Red ambassador told us exactly how he has prepared and how he is feeling.
“This is is. I’ve got the biggest fight of my life ahead of me.
“This is my first fight working with a nutritionist and I can’t believe how much I can eat and drink. It’s mad. We’re talking a week out from the fight and usually I’d just be trying to get down from the weight I am now. It was the last couple of days that I didn’t really know how to get the last couple of pounds off properly. Now, I’m drinking loads of water and I won’t be drying myself out at all. I’ll be able to sweat out the last couple of pounds rather than drying out. There’s a science to this.
“This is a whole different thing. I can’t wait to fight and the main reason is that I’m excited to know how I’m going to feel in there. I’m not going to feel fatigued. I’ll be able to throw combinations and just carry on throwing them.
“I’ve seen this guy, Bruno, saying that he’s gonna keep coming forward and put it on me. He’s gonna be sorry now though. I’m firing on all cylinders.
“I knew I had to change things after the fight with Kiko Martinez. I beat him but after the first couple of rounds it just felt like I didn’t have that snap in my jab. I had no pop in my punches.
“I can’t believe I’ve got as far as I have without a nutritionist. I never even used to have breakfast. I think to myself now, ‘How the hell did I do that?’ I’ve felt a difference in training and I feel so strong.
“I’m not sure where I’m gonna be on the bill. I don’t know how Eddie Hearn’s gonna pattern it all. Hopefully they’ll put me on at the right time. I feel like I should be on before Parker and Chisora. After all, I’m from Manchester. I’d love to be on at about 9pm. At least I won’t be on really early anyway.
“All this guy does is come forward. Even when he gets hit and wobbled he still comes forward. It’s the only style he knows. It’s gonna be a tough, tough night for him. He’s gonna walk forward and keep getting nailed and keep getting nailed and keep getting nailed. Obviously I’ll get tired to some extent but now I’m doing everything properly my mind and body will be working together rather then just my mind working alone.
“He’s hungry and he’s coming to win but when I land on him – when I land these uppercuts – it’s gonna be a different story for him. He’s lost a couple of times in the past but he hasn’t seen anything like me before. I’m not sleeping on him but he hasn’t beaten anybody of a level. I’ve been fighting at a good level. He has been fighting people he can bully and push back. I’ll go back but I’ll be going back for a reason. That’s the difference.
“In my mind this guy is a monster and in my mind I don’t think I’m going to knock him out. I’m ready for twelve rounds and I’ll box his head off. Before Kiko I would always think, ‘I’m gonna catch this guy and knock him out’ but now I’m ready for a long one. I know I hit hard and I know I’ll land on him and I know there’s a chance he’ll go down but that that’s not my first instinct. My first instinct is to box, box, box.
“I watched the new IBF champion, Kenichi Ogawa, the other week. He’s good. He’s got good fundamentals and a good right hand and feet. I’m more focused on this Bruno though. That’s my world title fight. After this, we’ll sit down and sort everything out.
“I just checked the ratings on Boxrec and I’m number seven in the world. That’s not in IBF rankings or the WBC rankings or whatever, that’s the whole world. Eddie Hearn knows. When I win this fight and we sit down to talk, I’ll get that fight with Ogawa but now I’m only thinking of Bruno. He’s all that matters.
“It’s crazy how far I’ve come. From the Middleton Arena to number seven in the whole world. Number four with the IBF. I’m number 13 with the WBO.
“If I do what I know I can, I’ll beat Bruno. I’m just excited to get in there and fight.”