Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gerula still the champ

Pounds out unanimous decision over U.S. challenger

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Olivia (The Predator) Gerula held the hometown crowd in their seats and held onto her belt Thursday night on King John Boxing's Hometown Heroes card at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Gerula earned a unanimous decision over Brooke (No Mercy) Dierdorff Millbrook of Somonauk, Ill., after the two were locked in a toe-to-toe battle for 10 rounds in front of a crowd of about 2,000.

Gerula raised her WBC world female super featherweight title belt over her head and posed for pictures for friends and family in the ring after the fight.

"I couldn't be happier. Electric! Beautiful! I'm going to be living this up for the next couple of months," said an elated Gerula, whose jab in the fifth round bloodied Millbrook's nose.

"I was a little bit smothered, I should have worked more of the angles but I spent most of the night pushing her off me trying to get an actual shot in. I'm glad I came out with the win and everyone stayed up late and stayed."

There was even a "ring boy" for Manitoba's first female main event, which ended at midnight, with Mr. Pec-Tacular Jessie Godderz from the reality TV series Big Brother.

In a four-round heavyweight bout, Steinbach's Nick Penner, who has a 9-1 record in mixed martial arts fighting, improved his boxing record to 3-0 with a TKO victory over Dana Swan of Winnipeg.

Penner caught Swan with sharp left punch to the jaw in the final seconds of the second round, knocking Swan to the canvas but he got up to end the round. In the third, despite an apparent sore left ankle that was taped to start with, Penner came out swinging hard and dropped Swan with a head shot at 1:54 of the third.

Larry (Razor) Sharpe, the pride of Pine Falls, left the ring on his own terms and as a winner in the final fight of his career in his home province. Sharpe (25-8) won by unanimous decision and went the distance in an eight-round bout with Jose Corral of Agua Prieta, Mexico (18-16).

Sharpe came into the fight in such great shape, his corner didn't even have a stool. He stood between all eight rounds and even at the end of the fight when the decision was announced.

Though he sustained a small cut above his right eyebrow from a clash of heads in the first round, that was as tough as it got as Sharpe, the former Canadian middleweight champion and WBC Fedecentro light middleweight champion.

"In 42 fights, I never sat down," Sharpe said, referring to his Muay Thai career and boxing. He said his legs would cramp up if he sat between rounds so he never has. "This is it for here (Manitoba) but we've got something lined up for Edmonton against the champ (Canadian middleweight champion Adam Trupish). I think I'm at the Canadian champion level and I'd like to go out on that note."

That fight is set for Aug. 7 in Edmonton pending confirmation of details. Sharpe said if that fight doesn't happen, he's OK with hanging up the gloves.

"Starting boxing at 28 years old with no amateur career, it's been good. The money hasn't been great, but the experience definitely has been," said Sharpe, a teacher at Powerview School.

The next best fight of the night was the return of Winnipeg's Chad Brisson to the ring after a four-year absence against Jose Corona of Mexico City. Brisson won the eight-round light welterweight (140 pounds) bout by majority decision. The two were swinging toe-to-toe in the final round of the fight which was so close on judge scored it a tie.

Earlier, Lee Laquette of Winnipeg made his professional debut and came away with a victory by unanimous decision in a four-round match with Roland Vandal (0-4) who is still looking for his first professional win.

In the night's opening bouth, Darby Smart of Chisholm, Minn., (11-4) defeated Hassan Wasswa by unanimous decision in a six-round featherweight (126 pounds).

Wasswa (5-11-3) is from Minneapolis but now lives in Winnipeg and is managed by John Vernaus.

The show was being taped and will be packaged for pay-per-view in the USA at a later date.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 9, 2010 C1

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