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JORDAN Gill’s redemption tour lands in Manchester this weekend when his move to super-featherweight faces its biggest test against local favourite Zelfa Barrett.

Two former Commonwealth and European champions with similar records, comparable highs and lows, meeting over 12 rounds in what both hopes will be a final eliminator towards a world title shot.


Just 12 months ago Gill, 29, was at his lowest ebb.

In the aftermath of his maiden European title defence ending in a fourth-round retirement against Kiko Martinez, his mental health spiralled.

Gill alienated himself from his wife, his family and his friends before a call from world champion Leigh Wood, his former roommate, presented a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

A sparring holiday provided Gill with the jolt he needed and also introduced him to a new corner team, headed up by Wood’s trainer Ben Davison.

And the comeback in December was arguably the best performance of Gill’s 28-2-1 career, stopping much-fancied Michael Conlan on Irish soil in seven thrilling rounds.

But, like Gill, Conlan was a 125lb’er stepping up to 130lb. Barrett is a career super-feather.



Coming to the ring on the back of his own Irish victory in November, 30-2 Barrett has more than just home advantage in his corner this weekend.

Established at the weight, he won the Commonwealth crown in 2019 and upgraded to European honours in 2022.

His reward was a vacant world title shot against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in Dubai late in 2022. And whilst his performance was worthy of acclaim, he was dropped twice and stopped in nine rounds.

A front foot pressure fighter with heavy hands, Barrett has stopped more than half of his opponents, although his last TKO was way back during lockdown in 2020.


Ranked with at least two of the world governing bodies already, the winner of Saturday’s 12 rounder will be in a strong position to challenge for world honours before the year is out.

Welshman Joe Cordina, the world #1 at 130lb, has a title defence against Anthony Cacace booked for the Fury-Usyk undercard in Saudi Arabia next month. The winner here could be next up.

Gill is a slick operator, a mover who likes to throws punches in bunches with spiteful accuracy. Nine career knockouts may not suggest a man with too much power, but he has stopped five of his last eight wins.

Despite being orthodox, Barrett favours a left hook lead and uses that to ring the bell of his foes before following up with the right hand over the top.

Barrett’s power is a real danger for Gill, who has been hurt and hurt early in the past, and so it’s imperative he keeps his range and closes the distance intelligently.

However, Gill’s rebirth under Davison, alongside heavyweight Anthony Joshua no less, could well prove the missing piece in him finally realising his world title aspirations.


Two former Commonwealth and European champions collide in a domestic dust-up that will have huge ramifications on the world stage . My tip?

NP Gill

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