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This article was published 14/4/2015 (2640 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
North Kildonan’s Olivia (The Predator) Gerula has been boxing professionally for nearly half her life — and she’s as fired up and ready as she’s ever been.
"I’ve been a professional, world-ranked boxer for 18 years," Gerula, 35, explained. "That’s unheard of in my sport. So to be still where I am at the level that I am is fantastic. "My mom’s going, ‘I thought you were going to retire when you were 30?’" she added with a laugh. "Not so much!"
Gerula said that while boxing has taken her around the world, now she’s getting ready for a hometown appearance in the ring on April 30 at Club Regent (1425 Regent Ave. W), where she will face Simone Da Silva Duarte of Brazil for the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) featherweight (126 pound) title.
"Because of boxing, I’ve gotten to travel the world," said Gerula, who is a personal trainer when not fighting in the ring. "But it’s totally different with it being here and having all the people I’ve trained, my family, and everyone coming out to watch and cheer it on. We’re going to holler off the roof, it’s going to be great."
Holding a record of 15-4-2, Gerula got her professional start as a 17 year old, after getting hooked on kickboxing and mixed martial arts. Never having been an amateur boxer, Gerula said that she has spent a lot of training time over the past years "going in rewind" with coaches Kent Brown and Dejan Paunovic at Winnipeg’s Elite Boxing MMA.
"Amateur boxing and pro boxing are very different," she said. "I’ve had to go back and learn the technique you learn in amateur boxing. Even if I’m beating on a woman, the judges may see her as a better technical boxer, even though I’m winning the fight."
Gerula said that she doesn’t study her opponents before heading into the ring.
"I don’t like to prepare myself for something they’re not going to be like," she said, explaining that if an opponent studied a tape of her three years ago, they’d be in for a surprise when they hit the ring.
"I just make sure I’m trained to the best of my ability, that I’m as fast as I can be, I can hit as hard as I can hit," explained the five-foot-three Gerula, who describes herself as an inside fighter and a bit of a "brawler."
She did say, that she is looking forward to squaring off against Da Silva Duarte.
"She’s 5-4, which is cool," Gerula said. "Usually I get girls who are 5-7, 5-8. I’m an inside fighter all the way. But this time I might have an effective jab, and I’m looking forward to using it."
On top of the April 30 bout being a homecoming event, Gerula will also be celebrating her birthday the next day.
"I figure I’m going to be in the ring around 10:30 p.m., getting out around 11:30, holding my belt up and having a shot of tequila," Gerula said with a confident smile. "That’s my plan for my birthday."
Gerula takes on Da Silva Duarte at the King John Boxing event High Stakes Havoc on Thurs., April 30 at Club Regent Casino & Event Centre. The fun starts at 7 p.m.
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Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112