Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Predator packing a wallop for fight

Gerula will be swinging in rematch

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The Predator is officially on the prowl to get her title belt back.

After months of waiting, Olivia (The Predator) Gerula has secured a fight on Sept. 3 in Karlstad, Sweden, where she will meet Frida (Golden Girl) Wallberg in a 10-round bout for the WBC female world super featherweight title. The Gerula-Wallberg fight is a rematch of the Nov. 27, 2010 fight which Gerula lost.

"That's my belt," Gerula, 32, said in an interview Monday. "I intend to lay down the fight of my life. I'm excited."

She said she has been told by Swedish promoter Pugnus Boxing the judges will be Swedish, Canadian and French.

"My job this time around is not to depend on judging. I'm going for power and it may be a messy fight," she said. "If I have to run from one end of ring to the other end of the ring and land my fist in her face, that's what I will do."

The event has been called The Night of the Champions and will be held in the Karlstad Congress Culture Centre, which holds 1,600 spectators for boxing.

The WBC announced on its website that the Gerula-Wallberg fight will be an historic event as "this will be first boxing match in Sweden, male or female, to be contested over 10 rounds since 1970, when a complete ban on boxing went into effect." Sweden's boxing ban was lifted in 2007 but only fights of eight rounds were allowed.

"It's a big deal there (to have 10 rounds), it went through the courts, and that's why it took so long, nine months to wait," Gerula said.

Gerula was the champ going into last year's November fight but she lost the eight-round bout in a controversial unanimous decision.

Many in the boxing world, including Gerula, feel politics came into play to see the hometown Swedish girl take the title and raise the sport's profile in the country where a positive boxing story was sorely needed.

"I still believe I won that fight and so does everyone who watched that fight with me," said Gerula, who can be seen in video of the fight (www.oliviathepredator.com) actually raising her arms as the referee was announcing the winner and then looking shocked as Wallberg was handed the belt.

"I can't imagine this fight is going to be anything like the last fight," said Gerula, who fights at 130 pounds. "I think what she was told in that fight was 'tie her up, don't let her swing for you and tag her when she's on the outside.' She held, she leaned on my shoulders and I couldn't get a good fight out of it, even though I hit her.

"She had a lot of power, no doubt, but I still think I'm faster and I still think I'm stronger."

Gerula said the outpouring of support she received after her loss sent a message that she will bring with her to Sweden for the rematch.

"So many people said, 'how dare they? You're the champion and if there's any doubt, it should be given to the champion.' Well, this time around, she's the champion," Gerula said. "This time around, I've got more to prove. I did enough to win that last fight but I'm going to have to do even more to win this fight and I understand that."

Going in as the underdog is just fine with her, in fact, it's part of the plan.

"That's home to me, I'm always that girl," Gerula said, laughing. "Oh, please, when I'm walking into someone else's country, someone else's territory, I'm always the underdog, even last time (when she was the champion). That's how it works, I don't have a big promoter behind me. This is nothing new to me, this is what I'm used to."

Though she started her pre-match training regime Monday, Gerula said she has already been in fight condition earlier this spring. She had a bout scheduled for May 29 in Korea but her opponent pulled out.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2011 C5

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