Zelfa Barrett out to follow in the footsteps of Ricky Hatton and Anthony Crolla as Manchester's main man

The biggest night of his career comes at the AO Arena when he takes on Jordan Gill in April.
Zelfa Barrett, right, faces off with opponent Jordan Gill under the watchful eye of promoter Eddie Hearn at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom BoxingZelfa Barrett, right, faces off with opponent Jordan Gill under the watchful eye of promoter Eddie Hearn at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Zelfa Barrett, right, faces off with opponent Jordan Gill under the watchful eye of promoter Eddie Hearn at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Zelfa Barrett feels he is the new big-time fighter Manchester has been “screaming out for” as he prepares to face off with Jordan Gill in one of the biggest clashes of his career. 

It is a crucial night for both men with a shot at a world title likely awaiting the winner of the the super-featherweight bout at the AO Arena on April 13. World-ranked Barrett believes he is now “top of the tree” in Manchester and ready to fill the void left by Ricky Hatton, Anthony Crolla and others.

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Having racked up two successive wins since his IBF World super-featherweight title defeat to Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in 2022 he is in prime position to get another shot at a big prize.

Zelfa Barrett, right, faces off with opponent Jordan Gill under the watchful eye of promoter Eddie Hearn at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom BoxingZelfa Barrett, right, faces off with opponent Jordan Gill under the watchful eye of promoter Eddie Hearn at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Zelfa Barrett, right, faces off with opponent Jordan Gill under the watchful eye of promoter Eddie Hearn at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

“I’m gritting my teeth and really want to perform," said Barrett, as he came face-to-face with Gill at a press conference at New Century Hall. "Manchester is screaming out for a fighter and I am that fighter, I am top of the tree. 

“This is what I've been waiting for. For me it feels like a world title fight because I know how good Jordan is and he has a good team behind him. If I can get a win over Jordan - the world is mine and I can deliver everything that I can.”

This fight at the AO marks the end of an incredible journey for ‘Brown Flash’ - who, as the nephew of former world title challenger turned trainer and promoter Pat Barrett, came up through the small hall Manchester scene, fighting at Oldham Leisure Centre and Middleton Arena among other places, before arriving on the big stage.

Zelfa Barrett speaking at the press conference at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom BoxingZelfa Barrett speaking at the press conference at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Zelfa Barrett speaking at the press conference at New Century Hall. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
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The Harpurhey local was promised the fight on home soil by leading boxing promoter Eddie Hearn. And despite the possibility of fighting internationally - in a similar vein to heavyweights Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury - a night in the city’s iconic venue had always been Barrett’s dream.

“If you are a fighter from Manchester, you don’t want to fight in Saudi or LA, you want to fight in Manchester at the arena," the 30-year-old said. “I always thought to myself that I would be here one day and now it is my time.”

His opponent is in fine form after switching to the super-featherweight division and after a shock victory against Michael Conlan in Belfast at the end of last year. 

Gill said: “Zelfa has got a lot of strings to his bow. He is a very versatile fighter, he moves well, he punches hard, he has got very strong hands and he can stand there and sling it out as well."

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The fight will be streamed live on DAZN and tickets are on sale via Stage Front and Ticketmaster. Prices range from £40 all the way up to £200 for VIPs. The undercard features Anthony Crolla's younger brother William and another Manchester fighter Michael Gomez Jnr defending his English super-featherweight title.