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'The Predator' hunting for WIBA featherweight title

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Olivia "The Predator" Gerula is on the prowl for a new title.

With promoter/trainer "King John" Vernaus in her corner, Gerula will take on Jelena Mrdjenovich of Edmonton on Friday at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton for the vacant Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) featherweight title.

"Olivia is great shape and she’s hitting a lot harder than when I last trained her (2010) and she (Gerula) has beat her before," Vernaus said in an interview with the Free Press. "This is an international title, Mrdjenovich is ranked No. 1 so she (Gerula) will take over her ranking and be ranked No. 1 again. Once you get that rank, it’s easier to get fights."

Gerula and Mrdjenovich last met in 2009 when Gerula beat Mrdjenovich to claim the WBC female super featherweight title at Edmonton’s Shaw Convention Centre in unanimous decision.

Gerula, 32, went on to successfully defend the WBC title twice and lost it. Most recently, Gerula failed to regain the WBC title in a rematch with Frida Wallberg last September in Karlstad, Sweden.

Vernaus said Friday’s WIBA fight came up suddenly when Mrdjenovich’s opponent backed out but Gerula was able to take it because of her consistent training.

"Olivia always stays in great shape," Vernaus said. "I told her we were going to put a fight on in January so she was keeping in shape for that but then this came up. She’s been sparring 12 rounds already. She looks good."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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