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Zelfa Barrett exclusive: When I prepare properly I don’t lose

Zelfa Barrett


Zelfa Barrett exclusive: When I prepare properly I don’t lose

Zelfa Barrett exclusive: When I prepare properly I don’t lose

My last fight was wicked. I put on a spectacular performance against Jason Sanchez. He was a world class fighter who went 12 rounds with Oscar Valdez and ten rounds with Christopher Diaz who were top featherweights. I showed my levels. For all 32Red’s latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

Was it my best all round performance? I was good against Faroukh Kurbanov. I believe I won every round of that fight. My only two defeats are short notice fights. One was two and a half weeks and one was five weeks – for my world title fight against Shavkat Rakhimov.

I had to rush the sparring. I knew I was fighting for a world title and that’s the biggest time in anybody’s career. Some people are getting ten weeks. No excuses, I burst my ear drum and it is what it is.

When I prepare properly I don’t lose. I’m in the gym every day but it’s different. It’s all about game plans and strategies. I’m fit all the time but you can’t go to war without strategy.

If you don’t have one, you can end up trying it out in the fight. If you have a strategy you’re working on it in training and sparring. I won’t ever get beat again.

“I’m world level”

Fighters will tell you they improve when they win a world title just because of the confidence. I got it anyway. I’m world level. Listen, I knew. As soon as round one started. I was feinting him and – bam – that fast jab.

Every time I hit him I felt like I was hitting a bag. I thought, ‘Is this world level?’ I’ve been doing it all my life. My confidence was growing.

When you feel good and realise you’re at that level it’s a feeling of confirmation and a bit of relief. They fight certain opponents and certain opponents make them look better than they are. I knew and he knew. That’s why I’ve got this swagger and inner confidence.

When I talk about boxing and my self belief, I’m right up there. Outside of boxing I’m just a normal dude. All I need is when I’m a world champion, I can say I’m the best.

“I’m not a fake Instagram boxer”

Zelfa Barrett

I’m a problem for anybody. Trainers know when they see somebody who’s good. I’m fit, I’m strong. I’ve got every punch in the book and I can fight going back and going forwards. I’m the kind of fighter who they’ll think ‘Aw, do we need to fight him?’

I’m legit, not a fake instagram boxer. Just today my uncle Pat just had me working a double jab and working things off a double jab. It was more than 12 rounds.

My thing is consistency. I’m consistently consistent. No matter what happens I’m in the gym.

It’s frustrating waiting for a shot but it’s given me time to get better. These guys don’t know what they’re doing to me. It’s like Dragonball-Z when they go in the chamber and they’re just getting better. The time that they’re giving me, I’m just improving.

Whoever gets put in the ring with me is going to pay for it. I’m going to make a statement doing it.

“The most important thing is being in the gym”

All my life I’ve never lived a life. I’ve always been in Pat’s spare room and not been able to do certain things because I’ve got a fight. I just turned 30 in July. People at my age have done everything. I’ve not. I’ve not lived.

It’s good to spend time with my kids. It’s good to train, go home see my kids and then go for a plod, or train, go home and then go and do my sprints with Uncle P. It feels good because I get to live a bit.

The most important thing is that I’m in the gym. When you’re at this level and you’re relaxed like this, your mind is like a sponge. You’re just taking everything in. When you’ve got a fight you’re thinking about him, you’re focused on your weight, how many sprints you’re doing that night.

It’s hard to think about anything else because there’s pressure. Every fighter has it. All I’ve got to think of at the moment is wondering what Pat’s got planned for me or who I’m gonna be sparring.

“I’m a problem for everybody”

Zelfa Barrett

When I’m on the bag I’m thinking about different people. Numerous things. Who was I fighting today? Today I was just thinking about bettering me. It feels good to just come in the gym and learn.

This is why I think I’m a problem for everybody. I’ll lights you out in every round. I’m loose and relaxed. I’m not boasting but I don’t think there are many people in boxing who’ve got that. The elusiveness and ferociousness in their combinations. Shakur Stevenson does it differently. His is more of a look, shoot, shoot style. Tank Davis is explosive. There aren’t many fighters who have got a similar style as me. Mine is thrown in a washing machine, mixed up and whatever comes out, comes out.

Joe Cordina’s kind of got it in spurts. O’Shaquie Foster is a tidy boxer. One-two’s, straight shots and he switches sometimes. Emanuel Navarette is very Mexican. Looping shots, hooks. That Hector Garcia is very quick. A southpaw with fast twitch fibres.

“You’ve gotta be all purpose”

Who do I think is number one at 130lbs? Joe’s good but probably Navarette. He’s got a style where you think, ‘How do I deal with him?’ You’ve gotta be all purpose. Ready to fight, ready to box, ready to move, ready to push him back.

When you fight certain fighters – like Joe, Foster or Garcia – you can stick to a gameplan. With Navarette I think you’ve gotta pack all your tools. Bring everything you’ve learned since you started boxing. His style is his own style. Even when he got put down by the Australian kid [Liam Wilson], he showed he’s a true champion by getting up to stop him.

You don’t worry about the lions without scars, you worry about the lions with scars. They’ve been through it and know how to cope with certain pressures.

I’m waiting for confirmation but I think I’ll be fighting at the end of November but I know I’ve got another fight in March. And I’m open to anything whenever. I’m an athlete so I’ve got to be ready. Some fighters probably just get in the gym because they’ve got a fight coming. I boxed in April and I’ve been in the gym since May.

I’m happy that my promoter knows I’m a fighter. I’m a real fighter. Trainers know and the boxing public know. As long as they know that I’m a fighter and how good I am, I’m happy.

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