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City woman wins world boxing title

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Winnipeg can now claim a new world champion and she stands 5-foot-3, has the heart of a lion and packs a very mean punch.

Olivia ‘The Predator’ Gerula scored a unanimous decision (97-94, 97-94 and 96-95) over Jelena Mrdjenovich at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton Thursday night, grabbing Mrdjenovich’s World Boxing Council’s super featherweight title with a solid victory over the hometown girl.

"I am doing wonderful," exclaimed Gerula when reached as she exited the ring on her brother’s cell phone. "I am now carrying around a shiny (championship) green belt and I can tell you it feels great.

"I’m sorry to keep interrupting you, but I’m walking out of the ring right now and stopping for photos and everything. My whole crew’s here and we’re doing a lot of hugs."

Gerula, now 11-10-2, not only became champion with the effort, but exacted a measure of revenge by defeating the only opponent who had knocked her out a previous meeting some 4-1/2 years ago. The result also derails some significant big plans Mrdjenovich, who falls to 23-4-1, had spoken publicly about before the fight. Instead, Gerula is likely now in line for bigger paydays and bigger fights — the next likely against the European champion.

"It was an amazing fight," said Gerula. "I was aggressive from the very beginning. She tried to land that famous left hook of hers and she landed a few. But I’ve learned to cover up and take some punches. I had her in trouble... she did hit the canvas once but they called it a slip. I had her tired and backed up and she was holding. It was a war and it was great.

"This is the payoff for all the years I’ve put in, all that time and effort. This is what it’s all about."

On the undercard, Winnipeg’s Billy lost to Steve Clagget of Calgary in a battle of light welterweights while Edmonton Eskimos defensive end Adam Braidwood was knocked out in the first round by Lee Mein in a battle of heavyweights.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

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