by Dave Baggs, FightNews Canada
Former WBC Super Featherweight champion Jelena Mrdjenovich has a new opponent for this Friday night at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, one who she knows quite well as she has already faced her twice, the last time ending her 5 year reign as champion. Olivia "The Predator" Gerula has answered the call on 5 days notice and will met Mrdjenovich to complete the trilogy, this time with the IBA Featherweight title on the line.
Gerula (13-12-2, 3KOs) travelled to Edmonton in April 2009 riding a 2 fight winning streak and ended Mrdjenovich's 5 year reign as the WBC queen of the Super Featherweights. This time she knows that she be in tough once again and with only 5 days to prepare, she'll have a difficult hill to climb.
"I got the offer for this fight last Tuesday, signed the contract wed and flew to Edmonton today. I have never excepted a fight that I didn't intend to win and this one in no exception. Yes, I would have preferred 8 weeks training compared to 8 days but the opportunity was too hard to pass up. I always stay in shape and was in preparation for training camp. Given Jelena's and my history, I do not believe this fight would have come about any other way then a last resort so I'm stepping up to the plate.
As to the fight, I expect she will be in top condition due to the 126 weight limit. She has stayed busy over the last year and like myself, she will step in the ring a different fighter then the one I defeated in 2009 for the WBC title. This time the WIBA title is up for grabs and I can promise Edmonton is in for one hell of a show!"
Mrdjenovich (25-8-1, 12kos) won the initial encounter over Gerula back in September 2004 in Winnipeg but following the loss to Gerula in 2009, she went into a tailspin. Winning only 1 of 5 bouts following the Gerula defeat, Mrdjenovich travelled to Tokyo as an underdog and handily defeated Fujin Raika over 10 rounds to breathe life back in her career. She knows that with a new opponent and a crafty veteran in Gerula, Mrdjenovich expects a tough outting once again.
Yes I think that the Gerula fight is a tougher opponent only for a few reasons, one being that yes, she has beat me before, but most importantly that Gerula brings far more experience to the table. I believe that Pucek would have came in hungry and in phenomnial shape as this fight would have been the biggest stage she has been on in her young career. Olivia is a seasoned veteran and has been fighting for a LONG time. The only thing that changes to me however is my opponent, my game plan remains intact, I am hungry and I have the will to win back in me. I have trained my ass off and have had an amazing camp, I believe, that I am looking better than I have in years. I have just continued building off of my fight in Japan.
Will revenge play a part of Mrdjenovich's plan or will it be repeat for Gerula. Mrdjenovich believes that she is a much better fighter now than the one who lost her crown to the Winnipeg fighter over 2 years ago.
"When I fought Olivia the last time, I was a shell of who I was as a person and as a fighter. I was just going through the motions. Now I have gone back to basics, I have worked hard, had unfalling support no matter what, and people pushing me because they know how important this is to me. They are the people who I owe this resurgance and my revival in boxing to. Come friday night Olivia is going to hate every single one of them, because she's not going to know what hit her friday night. I am a completely different person and fighter than I was three years ago... All I need to do Friday is show up and be me. "
If you wish to contact the author of this article, email Dave Baggs at FightNews Canada