Iman Barlow (aka “Pretty Killer”) was born 14th April, 1993 in Melton Mowbray, UK. The 28 year-old professional, British kickboxer, and Muay Thai fighter holds 18 world titles, fighting out of Assassins MuayThai Boxing Club, and is currently signed to One Championship.
Iman is a former two-time Enfusion (a Dutch martial arts and kickboxing promotion) 54kg, World champion, WRSA World champion, Lion Fight Super Bantamweight champion, and WPMF World Bantamweight champion.
At Enfusion, Iman accumulated a record of 6, consecutive World championship title defenses. She also holds the record as the longest-reigning Enfusion world champion at 54kg, for 1924 days.
Apart from Iman, no fighter (male or female) of any weight division had previously defended an Enfusion title more than twice. In 2020 Combat Press ranked her as the no.3 female fighter in the world while the World Boxing Council Muaythai ranked her as the no.3 Super Bantamweight fighter globally.
Talking about her childhood, when she was only 8, Iman traveled to Thailand to train in kickboxing at the Jitti gym (a ‘second home’ for many foreign athletes) on Khao Sam road.
She trained there for six weeks before getting a fight fixed with a boy who was the Northern Champion of Thailand. Barlow managed to get a draw fighting with the boy and was quite content with that. “I was only eight so I can’t remember if it was actually a draw, or if they just did it, or whether I lost or whether I won, but they said it was a draw. So, I was quite happy with that”.
Iman is trained by her dad, Mark, her promoter and manager. Her mother Maxine was a three-time British champion who had the privilege to fight the likes of Lucia Rijker – widely dubbed as the greatest female boxer and “The Most Dangerous Woman in the World”, by the press.
Iman recalls the training regime set by her mother; “She was always training when I was younger, and as I got older, I became her training partner and she always pushed me to my limits.”
Iman began to train when she was just two-and-a-half-years old. Her father laid the foundation of a gym in the corner of their cul-de-sac. This modest start paved the way for Iman’s successful Muay Thai career. She fought approximately 100 junior fights and had her first full ‘Muay Thai rules’ fight when she was only 12, in Thailand.
She used to spend her summers in Thailand where she trained to hone her Muay Thai skills and ultimately began to get fight opportunities. Early training in her childhood helped her to win International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) Junior British and European titles aged just 9.
At the age of 15, in 2008, she made her professional debut against Evelina Adomulyte winning in the fourth round via knockout punches. She also won her first WKA Bantamweight Muay Thai title by defeating Nathalia Visschers via unanimous decision in 2009.
Over the next five years, she amassed 12 notable victories over opponents such as Meryem Uslu (former Wu Lin Feng 55kg, World champion), Teresa Wintermyr (WMC Muaythai World Bantamweight champion), Amy Pirnie, and Mellony Geugjes (ISKA Flyweight and Featherweight champions respectively).
Iman is no doubt addicted to kickboxing and Muay Thai, and her intense desire to be remembered as one of the greatest warrior women is evident in her astounding performances.
Now you’ve got the backstory on the former Enfusion World champion, let’s get into the “Pretty Killer” Iman Barlow’s Top 5 Kickboxing Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Maritzarda Hersisia – Muay Thai UK Event (Feb. 22, 2014)
This match was for the Golden World Championship against Maritzarda Hersisia of Holland, which took place at Market Tavern, Melton Mowbray, UK.
In round 1, Iman mowed Hersisia down with a left hand jab, and hard left kick. Hersisia retaliated with quick, right hand jabs, thereby closing the distance.
At 25 seconds in, Iman ran wild, ploughing heavy-duty iron knees into Hersisia’s lower torso and the crowd cheered in appreciation of the duo’s performance thus far. Iman continued using high and low strikes, constantly keeping her opponent guessing.
At 1:30, Iman brutalized her opponent by striking yet more fierce, heavy knees into her abdomen. Hersisia seemed to have no equalizing answer to this brash knee attack, however, she tried to fight back with a couple of right hand jabs which failed to make any kind of dent in her opponent’s armour.
As the match progressed, Hersisia marched towards Iman and struck out with lightning-quick jabs whereupon Iman swiftly pulled herself back, landing a right hand blow flooring Hersisia.
In round 2, at 34 seconds, Iman rattled Hersisia again, this time by directing those trademark hard knees right to her head.
Iman unbolted a right kick straight to Hersisia’s jaw rendering her unconscious at 1:04 of round 2, swiftly ending the bout in sudden fashion. The win to Iman via knockout.
4. Vs. Lizzie Largillière – Explosion Fight Night (Nov. 26, 2011)
This fight took place at Les Mureaux in France against French fighter Lizzie Largillière.
As the bell rang at the start of round 1, both fighters ran in to rip each other apart, and at 25 seconds, Barlow went into a striking frenzy smashing Lizzie with left-right jabs and hard-hitting kicks. Lizzie targeted Iman with punches which got out of control as compared to Iman’s disciplined, focused striking.
At a minute in, Iman recoiled from a left hand jab by throwing a mighty left hand of her own right into Lizzie’s face whilst managing to regain composure.
Iman then furiously invaded her opponent’s space, unleashing a combination of kicks and very stiff punches. After the end of the round, it was noted that Barlow’s mother, (in her corner) gave her daughter a valuable piece of advice…
In round 2, at 20 seconds in, Barlow was all over Lizzie again, raining down ruthless punches and kicks until she fell to the ground.
Barlow maintained her clean striking and remained solid in her technique as she continued to outscore Lizzie.
Lizzie had to be checked by a doctor as a consequence of the big one-two combination punches that Barlow had levied so far which left Lizzie with a swollen, and blackened eye. As a result, Barlow was declared the winner via round 3 decision.
3. Vs. Marina Zueva – Enfusion Live 11 (Dec. 1, 2013)
This time Iman faced Russian Muay Thai fighter, Marina Zueva.
In round 1 Iman started out with a bang by executing left-right jabs, one after the other – the audience was astonished to see Barlow throwing such lightning-quick jabs.
At 28 seconds in, Iman landed a lethal left hand jab on Marina’s head, following it up with a flurry of punches and a kick. Zueva found an opening and hurled a quick jab at Barlow’s face. Barlow marched on, unperturbed towards the Russian, getting her in the clinch before punishing her with ravaging headshots.
At the start of round 2, a fast and furious Iman ran wild on the Russian fighter exacting brutal strikes and sharp kicks. Kudos to Zueva who stood her ground absorbing the strikes without backing down.
At 2 minutes and 20 seconds in, Zueva caught a Barlow kick and tossed her to the ground, going after Iman with a couple of headshots.
In round 3, the ruthless striking by the “Pretty Killer” began to render her opponent’s efforts redundant. Iman Barlow won the match via round 3 unanimous decision.
2. Vs. Brooke Farrell – MTGP 32 (Nov. 30, 2019)
This Muay Thai Grand Prix co-main event was for the WBC Women’s Super Bantamweight International championship against Australian fighter, Brooke Farrell over five, 2-minute rounds.
Round 1 got underway with a tap of gloves. To start, Iman marched towards Farrell, using a combination of right hand shots and kicks to the torso.
The fighters grappled each other at the side of the cage, both firing sharp knees to each other’s core – Iman’s quick, right hand jabs were looking especially crisp here.
At 30 seconds in, a right hand jab from Iman struck Brooke’s nose causing her to fall to the mat. The referee signalled Farrell to get to her feet. At a minute in, Brooke clinched Iman, dumping her to the ground.
At the start of round 2, Iman started out aggressively with crushing kicks to Farrell’s abdomen. At 0:15, Iman unleashed a furious high kick from which Farrell recoiled unsuccessfully, throwing a kick as she fell to the ground. Iman continued to fire off kicks and knees to her advantage, easily tackling jabs from Farrell whilst pulling herself towards the corner.
Iman switched gears and got more aggressive as the match progressed, whilst Farrell was unable to penetrate Iman’s finessed defense techniques, also her kicks were becoming mistimed getting caught, mid-execution.
The match stretched to round 5 with Iman being declared the winner via unanimous decision.
1. Vs. Hannah Brady – MTGP 21 (Nov. 10, 2018)
Before the match, Iman told an interviewer that “fighting Brady will be a good test for me”. Iman Barlow’s MTGP Women’s Bantamweight championship was on the line against fellow Brit, Hannah Brady from Leeds.
In round 1, Hannah Brady came raging forward toward Iman, pushing her towards the side of the ring by executing quick, left-right jabs and knees to her stomach. Barlow fought back by throwing punches but the challenger was quick to get her in the clinch.
At 45 seconds in, Brady followed Barlow to thrust her right hand forcefully into her face (making it difficult for her to breathe) and started throwing heavy knees to her lower torso. By the end of round 1, Iman was convinced that she had a mountain to climb in order to retain her Bantamweight title.
Iman went back to her standard combat modus operandi, using lethal kicks both in defense and attack against Brady.
In round 2, Iman used her kicks to keep her opponent at bay, whilst it looked like Brady was on full charge, ready to launch a troublesome assault on the “Pretty Killer”. This time, Iman changed her stance frequently whilst traversing maximum surface area inside the ring.
At 45 seconds in, Brady was becoming unstoppable; throwing the leather whilst continuing to haunt Iman with her elbow. Iman fights back with all the moves in her arsenal and fortunately, wasn’t succumbing to Brady’s blows.
In round 3, a punch from Iman left Brady with a bloodied nose, however she kept coming forward and clinched the “Pretty Killer” as they both continued to go at it with knees and jabs.
By latter end of round 3, Brady slowed down dramatically and was now running out of steam, showing signs of exhaustion in this very physically demanding matchup.
At 45 seconds into round 5, Barlow evaded a Brady encounter and levied a right punch landing on her nose again. Iman was quick to take up the slack and quicken her momentum, storming Brady with a fast, heavy knee assault, tossing her brutally to the ground.
Brady was definitely losing her primal vigour (after her earlier bursts of impressive-looking, intense aggression) when Iman attacked with a right elbow to her face and continued the onslaught with high kicks and jabs.
Iman Barlow was declared the winner via round 5 unanimous decision.