Zelfa Barrett believes he became the forgotten man of the super featherweight division when he was kept out of the ring through injury, but the fighter known as Brown Flash is now very much back and looking to jog a few memories when he makes his BT Sport return in what should be an explosive encounter with Lyon Woodstock at the FD Arena in Leeds on June 15, as he explains in his latest Fighter Diary…
FIGHTER DIARY BY ZELFA BARRETT
BEING FORCED TO take time out due to an Achilles injury was hard for me because I have been boxing all my life and hadn’t been injured before. So just to get an injury was distressing, but for it to be one where I couldn’t fight or even train was especially hard.
I couldn’t do anything because my right leg was immobilised and if I did I would have become unbalanced, so the doctor said just to do nothing. All I could do was go to the gym and watch the other lads train.
That was frustrating but I am a believer in everything happens for a reason so I had to just see it out.
I had no reservations when it came to making my comeback after ten months out the other weekend and, to me, it would have been weak-minded to have been thinking about what might go wrong. I’ve had my operation, I’m back, I’m running fast and doing everything I need to do.
I fought the same opponent – Edwin Tellez – as I did in my previous fight and this time I stopped him in the second round, which I believe tells you something about where I am at and how hungry I am.
Now is the time for people to stop forgetting about me because, when talking about the super featherweights, they don’t mention my name. I don’t know why.
It was something I couldn’t do anything about because I wasn’t fit to fight before but now I am back. I’ve seen it all going on while I was out, with Archie Sharp beating Lyon Woodstock and Sam Bowen doing his thing.
The fact is, I believe in myself and I believe I am better than all of them. That is just what I believe and I just need the opportunity at the right time for me to show that.
For me June 15 will be the right time and now I am in a massive fight on that show. It will be a good time to show off my skills and remind everyone who I am.
I know what I need to do and Pat (trainer and uncle, Barrett) is now happy for me to fight anyone and anywhere. Whoever wants it and wherever they want it.
While I obviously believe I am the pick of the super featherweight litter, I sometimes get asked who I think is the best of the rest. Sharp has got skills man, very good skills, while Bowen is not very skilful, but he has got hard work and you can tell he trains hard for his style of pressure fighting, but he can’t box.
It is a tough one to call between Sharp and Bowen. It didn’t come as a surprise to me when Sharp beat Woodstock and I thought it was inevitable, that is what I think anyway and I will do the same, only better.
It is Bowen who has got the British title belt and I want to fight for that in a 12 round fight. I am convinced I have got the beating of him too and have got the skills to do it. There is only one way he could fight me and that is to come forward because he will not be able to outbox me.
I just believe in myself, I am not arrogant or cocky and I don’t call people out. In this boxing game you have got to believe in yourself and I feel I have got the beating of all of them.
The one setback I’ve had – against Ronnie Clark – I’ll be real with you about and say I am not even bothered about doing it again now. It did bother me at first but I have got past that and for me it is gone now.
I showed people then that I’ve got a heart and I can fight – and that was on three weeks notice against a southpaw we weren’t preparing for. It just showed my character and me as a person.
What I know now is that a big statement is required from me when I return to the ring against Woodstock in Leeds. People were talking about me being this big prospect and nothing has changed, I just got injured.
I am excited to fight because when I feel I’ve got to prove something I always do it and look good doing it too. I am going to put my marker back in the weight division and say ‘don’t forget about me’ because it feels like people have. I see fighters mentioning other names like Scott Quigg and Lee Selby – why mention them?
They’ve won world titles, so go and win something significant yourself before talking about fighters like that.
This fight against Woodstock has been a long time coming for me. People have mentioned mine and Woodstock’s name for a while now, since we both turned pro and because we’re with Frank Warren.
It needed to be the right time and the time is now. We’ve both been considered hot prospects and it is a big fight that luckily is on Josh Warrington’s undercard, but there is no doubt this could have been a main event fight on its own.
I believe in myself, I believe in my style and I believe in everything I do, so I believe 100 per cent that I have the beating of Woodstock, while he will believe in himself and his style.
My style beats his, but I do rate him and he is a good fighter who does things well. He is an aggressive fighter coming forward, he can box a bit, has got a bit of power and is a respectable opponent.
This is the sort of fight to bring the best out in me.