Gill vs Barrett Predictions: Manchester history beckons for Barrett

 | 10th April | 

4 mins read

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Zelfa Barrett follows in the footsteps of Manchester’s boxing idols as he headlines the AO Arena against Jordan Gill on Saturday, April 13. This domestic dust-up will be screened live on DAZN, as these top super featherweights look to move into title contention. Here are my Gill vs Barrett predictions ahead of an enticing all-British brawl.

Gill vs Barrett Tips

  • Barrett on points @ 3/1
  • Fight to go the distance - Yes @ 6/4

Sometimes a fight just makes perfect sense. Gill and Barrett occupy the same weightclass. They are a year apart in age. Both have mixed at the highest level and each has proven adept at overcoming setbacks. Barrett and Gill are world-ranked to boot. This fight really does tick every box. 

Barrett will perhaps feel he has the most to prove here. The Manchester Arena carries a thick fog of boxing history with it, particularly for Mancunians. Barrett grew up in Harpurhey, one of the most deprived areas of the city. He’ll have seen the likes of Michael Gomez, Ricky Hatton and Anthony Crolla achieve superstardom in that hallowed building. Now, headlining the Arena for the first time, Barrett has the chance to write his name in the history books alongside his heroes. 

Zelfa’s ambition is to join the likes of Hatton and Crolla as world champions. He has had one opportunity to fulfil that dream. ‘Brown Flash’ performed admirably on that winter night in November 2022. Barrett contested the vacant IBF super featherweight belt against then-unbeaten Shavkat Rakhimov. He had his man on the canvas in the third round but could not turn the screw, ultimately succumbing himself in the ninth session.

Barrett has won twice since, knocking former world title challenger Jason Sanchez down on the way to a wide unanimous decision before outpointing Costin Ion over eight. The 30-year-old now needs to prove his readiness for another title tilt against Gill.

At one point it looked like Jordan Gill might never find himself in an arena-headlining attraction again. ‘The Thrill’ was shockingly knocked out in four rounds by veteran former world champion Kiko Martinez in October 2022. The result looked to downgrade the Cambridgeshire man to the role of “opponent” in future outings.

It was on that basis that Gill was selected ostensibly to revive the career of Michael Conlan last December. The Irishman was coming off a damaging fifth-round TKO loss to Luis Alberto Lopez for the IBF super featherweight championship. A Belfast clash with Gill was supposed to catapult Conlan back into contention.  

Instead, the underdog sprang an incredible upset. This was no fluke either. Gill was transcendent, knocking Conlan down in the second round before closing the show in the seventh. It was a star-making display from a fighter who was open about his mental health struggles in the aftermath. Gill was a fighter who had been to the brink, now he was on top.

Fights like this are why the modern preoccupation with unbeaten records is so counterproductive. This fight is intriguing because the boxers have endured hardship to get to this point. Yes, a meteoric rise to the status of arena-headliner can be thrilling to watch. But there is something wonderful and life-affirming about seeing fighters who have picked themselves up and dusted themselves off before climbing to the top of the mountain. Gill and Barrett aren’t here because they are perfect. They are here because they are human. Remarkably so.

In an emotional fight, it is now my duty to put emotion aside and reach for my analytical cap. As inspiring as these men are, I do believe one holds clear superiority over the other. Barrett has demonstrated a higher ceiling in his career, though I do believe Gill’s win over Conlan is the finest victory either has attained. 

But Barrett’s relatively trouble-free outing against Martinez, who memorably conquered Gill, stands out to me. There was a class and poise there, particularly when he was cut in the seventh round, that showed me he can triumph when the chips are down. They will be at times against Gill, who is always game. But I feel like Barrett will find an extra level to get him over the line.

My pick is Barrett by decision at 3/1. I think Gill, particularly in the sort of form we saw against Conlan, can stay with him. But Barrett has that little something extra that will see his hand raised in the end.

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

 

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