Feature | Issue | Premium | Oct 06 2019

Zelfa Barrett: ‘I’m just different. I’ve seen a different side of life now’

Zelfa Barrett was forced to come of age after he suffered an upset loss and has since displayed the maturity that his trainer, uncle and former champion, Pat, was craving. The Barretts tell John Evans why they’re in-sync for the first time
Zelfa Barrett
Action Images/Reuters/Ed Sykes

A NEW tattoo has appeared just above Zelfa Barrett’s right wrist. None of Barrett’s ink comes from the well thumbed pages of the tattooist’s catalogue. From the portraits of his brother, John, and cousin, Wayne, – both of whom were taken tragically before their time – to the ‘Flash’ symbol that represents the nickname that both he and his uncle and trainer, Pat, have carried to the ring, every piece is unique and personal to the 26 year old. The latest addition to his soon to be completed sleeve is a brain in the shape of a boxing glove.

The small tattoo symbolises a big shift. Over the past year, Barrett has changed. The belief that was shaken by a surprising loss to Ronnie Clark last year and a torn achilles tendon has returned but these days there is a real conviction about his actions and words.

“I’ve wanted that tattoo for ages. I just had to find the right time to get it done,” Barrett told Boxing News as he sat in the Collyhurst and Moston gym in Manchester. “Boxing is about using your brain. People can’t see what’s really going on inside, even I can’t really explain it. I’m just different. I’ve seen a different side of life now.