Iman Barlow was supposed to be defending her 54kg Enfusion world championship against Mellony Geugjes later today at Enfusion Live 43 in Groningen, Netherlands. However, Geugjes had to withdraw with only a week’s notice due to unexpectedly needing surgery and was replaced by another Dutch female kickboxer, Ilsury Hendrikse.

When a fighter is preparing for a fight especially against a well known and strong opponent they work on a game plan. Either the fighter’s coach, and or, both fighter and coach would have studied past fight footage of their opponent and summarised their strengths and weaknesses.

However, when the opponent is then withdrawn a week before the fight and replaced with someone than had been expected, it can be somewhat unsettling.

Iman Barlow
Iman Barlow v Ilsury Hendrikse – Image: Glorious Heroes, Enfusion Live

Not for Iman Barlow though. The champion was quite cool, calm and composed about the whole situation. After the weigh-ins last night, we asked her how she predicts she’ll retain her title:

“It’s a late change so I don’t know much about her. I know she has more Muay Thai style and she is a Dutch fighter and they’re always ready for anything. I expect her to come out fast and come forward a lot. It’s her chance. It doesn’t bother me too much, I’m pretty chilled. Nothing’s changed, its still a fight that I want to win.”

“I predict it will be a fast fight, 5 x2 minute rounds. So, I think it will go to points.”

Before Enfusion Live 43 gets underway tonight, you can watch the full video podcast with Iman Barlow (below) and find out more about her real life experiences that shaped her into becoming, a multiple kickboxing and Muay Thai world champion.