Zelfa Barrett's potential next fight for world title in Manchester after starring at AO Arena v Jordan Gill

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“This was the most emotional night of my career, and it was big for me to fight in Manchester.”

Zelfa Barrett admitted his fight with Jordan Gill was “do or die” after setting up a potential world title shot in Manchester. 

Headlining at the AO Arena for the first time, ‘Brown Flash’ stopped Gill in the 10th round with a devastating body attack ending an absorbing back-and-forth super-featherweight contest.  After delighting his home crowd, Barrett said: “It was do or die tonight. If I didn’t win, where would I go?”

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His promoter, Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn, stated after the fighting that it’s now “time to give him (Barrett) a world title fight.” 

Zelfa Barrett sends Jordan Gill to the canvas at the AO ArenaZelfa Barrett sends Jordan Gill to the canvas at the AO Arena
Zelfa Barrett sends Jordan Gill to the canvas at the AO Arena | Getty Images

Barrett came up short in his previous shot at world honours against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov back in 2022, but according to Hearn the 30-year-old could now face WBA champion Lamont Roach, also hinting any Barrett would title fight could happen in Manchester. 

Across the course of Saturday night’s 10 rounds there was little to separate Barrett and Gill. The opening couple of rounds were cagey before the home favourite got into his stride, landing a big left-hand in the third round leaving Gill dazed. Into the fourth and fifth rounds, Barrett's gameplan became clear, as he landed some crippling body shots on the Peterborough fighter to the delight of the AO Arena crowd. 

Gill managed to steady the ship though and even looked in the ascendancy entering the second half of the fight. Barrett spent a lot of time on the back foot with the visitor really applying the pressure. Barrett got back in the ascendancy in the ninth round but Gill took a brutal looking uppercut in his stride. It was a sign of things to come though with the fight all over in the next round. 

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Zelfa Barrett celebrates his big win at the AO Arena. Zelfa Barrett celebrates his big win at the AO Arena.
Zelfa Barrett celebrates his big win at the AO Arena. | Getty Images

After Gill was forced to take a knee midway through the 10th - Barrett applied the pressure much to the delight of the Manchester crowd.  The former Commonwealth champion looked rocked, and another brutal body shot sent him to the canvas for a second time. On the restart another barrage of stinging punches was enough for referee John Latham to wave the fight off. 

“This was the most emotional night of my career, and it was big for me to fight in Manchester,” Barrett said. “All my people were there, the event, the occasion. I’ve been in this position before – sink or swim and I had to swim.”

Elsewhere, it was a good night for Manchester fight favourite Anthony Crolla. He was in the corner as his younger brother WIlliam moved to 5-0 as a professional with a first round knockout of Fabio Cascone. Crolla-trained Rhiannon Dixon, from Warrington, also won the WBO World lightweight title against Karen Elizabeth Carabajal on points.

Manchester’s English super-featherweight champion Michael Gomez Jnr defended his title successfully with a sixth-round stoppage of Kane Baker.

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