'There are no words'

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

If they can pull it off, Lyndsey Scragg and Errol Johnson will be hailed for plotting the best attack strategy to come out of the West Midlands since Oliver Cromwell massed his cavalry for the fateful final charge at the Battle of Langport.

That would indeed be impressive, considering it's been 363 years since ol' Ollie -- whose fightin' moniker was 'Lord Protector' -- routed all the king's men with his fearsome concentration of power at the crossroads hamlet near Scragg's hometown of Wolverhampton, England.

Still, the personable puncher and her trainer/manager hope to have similar success on Friday night when they unleash the heavy artillery in challenging World Boxing Council super featherweight champ Jelena Mrdjenovich on the six-bout British Invasion card at the Shaw Conference Centre.

UNFLAPPABLE

Unbeaten (7-0, 3 KOs) and unflappable, the 29-year-old Scragg is that rarest of breeds in women's boxing: a big-time body puncher.

"Yeah, I love to go to the body; that's the main reason I only had 10 amateur fights before I turned pro last year," she said over breakfast yesterday.

"The problem with amateur boxing is that it's so manic, and it's very rare that you get rewarded for punching to the body.

"I've always believed a fighter should be able to turn the tide by going to the body, and you can't do that in the amateur game because of the ridiculous points system."

Scragg didn't know -- and apparently doesn't care -- that the five-foot-seven Mrdjenovich (22-3-1, 11 Kos) will have a four-inch height advantage, or that the champ has five times the number of professional rounds under her belt, 148 to 30.

"We're obviously aware of Jelena's record and the fact that she's had very good success against all kinds of different styles, but I never measure myself against anyone else -- my only gauge is me," said Scragg.

"We haven't watched any film of Jelena, nor are we approaching this fight any differently than any of my other bouts. We've worked out a plan and my only job, my only thought, is to execute it."

According to Johnson, mental discipline is one of Scragg's strongest attributes. And the fact she spars exclusively with men doesn't hurt, either.

"Lyndsey is a natural puncher, but she is also one of the few fighters I've worked with, male or female, whose mental toughness is as impressive as her physical abilities," said the trainer.

"She has the will to match her skill, so nothing that happens during a fight rattles her.

"Putting her in sparring with other women would be a waste of time. By sparring with blokes, she's progressed much faster."

A professional firefighter when she's not in the ring, Scragg said the fact this title shot will also be her first 10-rounder doesn't faze her in the least.

"I can't even begin to tell you what it means to be fighting for a world championship," she said.

"There are no words. From the first time I put on the gloves, I've been so passionate about boxing and fighting for a title -- and now here I am, strong and focused.

"I've put all my heart and mind into this moment, because it might not come around again. Women's boxing isn't a very big deal back home right now, but it will be if I bring back the title belt.

LEGACY

"For me, it's all about legacy. I don't want to be known as a great female fighter, but as a great fighter, period."

As for being a firefighter, Scragg said her employers in Wolverhampton initially came close to firing her if she didn't quit the ring.

"They didn't think it was a very good image for a female firefighter to also be a professional boxer, but eventually they came around," she said with a laugh.

"Now they're behind me 100% ... they can see the positive benefits of it."

The visualization techniques that Scragg has honed as a firefighter also help her between the ropes.

"We're trained to expect the unexpected and to form a mental picture of what we have to do before we do it," she said of her "other" job.

"It's a great help with my boxing, too. I'm a big believer in visualization. I've been visualizing a world championship for quite some time now."

Without tipping their hand about the fight plan, Johnson offered one last observation.

"We love being in the underdog role," he said.

"That's the beauty of coming into the champion's own backyard. With no expectations, there's no pressure.

"All the pressure is on Jelena. She's the one that has to perform in front of her friends and family. She's the one who has to react. to what we bring into this fight.

"All we have to do is stick to our plan and good things will happen."

The Lord Protector couldn't have said it better himself.

QUICK JABS

Friday's semi-main event will be an eight-round non-title bout between Canadian cruiserweight champ Frank White of Sarnia, Ont., and Winnipeg's Kareem Chartrand ... Featured in the prelims will be popular Edmonton super welterweight Anthony (Hits Hard) Lessard; local heavyweight Shane Biever; flashy unbeaten Calgary middleweight Steve Claggett and the return of former Canadian and British Commonwealth featherweight champ Tony Pep.


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