Wayne Barrett steps into the ring next Friday to take on fellow top 10 Middleweight Jason Wilnis. I had the privilege of speaking to Wayne on Monday and here’s what we discussed.
JS: Good afternoon Wayne. You're only six fights into your professional career yet you have already become one of the poster boys for Glory. What do you attribute this to?
WB: I attribute a lot of my success to timing. I don’t like using the word but it’s kind of like destiny. I always said at the start of my pro career I’d give it my all for two years and if I wasn’t successful I’d return to corporate America. Look at me now.
JS: Next Saturday you make your sixth appearance for Glory taking on the young Dutchman Jason Wilnis. What holes do you see in his game and how do you plan on exploiting those come next Saturday night?
WB: I definitely see some holes in his game and I also see some great things too. I’ve been watching him for a while, he’s got good jab, a good overhand right and he’s started utilizing his kicks a lot more now. I’d say I know his game pretty well. I know I can’t let him come forward because that’s when he’s most dangerous. As for how I’m going to exploit those weaknesses, we’re going to go at it and you guys will see for yourselves.
JS: Do you think a convincing win will be enough to earn a title shot against the champion?
WB: I think that’s what everyone wants to see. I’m here to do my job so if the fans and Glory believe I’m next then I’m not going to turn it down, but also if they think I need to improve then I’ll do that too. It doesn’t matter really as that belt will be mine.
JS: Artem Levin's unique and elusive style has given everyone he's fought problems. How would you attempt to solve the puzzle?
WB: To be honest he fights very similarly to some of my sparring partners; I’m very familiar with his style. He’s similar to Roy Jones Jnr and a little Ali-esque too; he has a different kind of timing. He does not follow the standard Dutch style of timing or pace and that’s what throws everyone off. I recognize it though; I’m ready for it and when it happens it’ll be a great fight.
JS: Besides a shot at the current champion, is there anyone else at Middleweight you'd like to fight or from a stylistic standpoint, you think you would match up well against?
WB: I’ve looked at the whole top ten and personally it’d be a great honor for me to know that at the end of my career, I could sit back and know I ran through the whole top 10. In terms of specific match-ups I’d quite like to fight Perreira and Verlinden. I’m a big fan of Verlinden’s style; his technique is perfect and for me he’s the epitome of a Dutch kickboxer. I’m not looking past Wilnis or Levin, but people couldn’t deny me my credibility if I beat Verlinden.
JS: Give us a little bit of background on how your martial arts journey started.
WB: I came to the US as an immigrant from Jamaica. Obviously being an immigrant we did things a little differently and because of that I was bullied which led to fights at school. So one day my Dad decided my brother and I needed an outlet so we joined a local karate school. Karate helped me straighten up elsewhere, our teacher would ensure our grades were acceptable before coming to class so I wanted to do better at school so I could go to karate. However unfortunately I my lost martial arts teacher in an unforeseen motorcycle accident and lost interest for in martial arts for a while but then fell in love with boxing.
After having a few boxing bouts some friends and myself randomly walked into a Muay Thai school one day. The teacher instantly recognized I was a boxing from my stance and asked me to put my hands up. He kicked me in the leg and it was an instant eye-opener, it completely changed my life. I signed up on the spot and since then I’ve never looked back.
JS: What do you think separates you from the rest of the division?
WB: My brain, I use my brain a lot. I’m always thinking in there. I don’t move the same, I use different angles, my pace and timing are different. I’m not afraid to move, a lot of guys have the one dimensional style where they meet in the middle and duke it out but I like to use as much of the ring as possible, I try to be elusive. I want to take as little damage as possible whilst inflicting as much damage as possible.
JS: Your rival Joe Schilling is fighting in Bellator soon against Melvin Manhoef. Is competing in MMA something you'd ever consider?
WB: Oh yeah absolutely. It’s not out of the question, but the guys at Glory treat me so well, so I have to represent for kickboxing. They have me fighting on Spike, they pay me really well and I’ve had less than ten fights as pro. MMA is on my mind but my focus right now is on kickboxing.
JS: What’re your thoughts towards a potential third encounter with Mr. Schilling?
WB: He’s the only person who I haven’t knocked out as a professional. I want to knock him out but it’s nothing personal. I just know I can and I don’t know why I didn’t do it before.
JS: Thank you very much for your time and have you got anyone you’d like to thank?
WB: Thank you to Liverkick, you guys have always been awesome. Thank you to everyone who supports me and everyone who supports kickboxing. If you’ve got a dream believe in it and work hard and see what you can accomplish.