No pressure on confident Predator

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

Being a road warrior suits Olivia (The Predator) Gerula just fine.

After all, the 29-year-old Winnipegger made her boxing debut 12 years ago in a tag-team bout consisting of a single six-minute round in Vancouver.

In 21 outings since, the five-foot-five, 130-pounder has been the "opponent" 17 times, while fighting in front of a hometown crowd on just four occasions.

"I love being the unknown underdog ... coming into someone else's backyard and not having any pressure," Gerula said yesterday after being introduced as the challenger for Jelena Mrdjenovich's World Boxing Council super featherweight title in the headliner of tomorrow's Blunt Force Trauma card at the Shaw Conference Centre.

"At this point in my career I'm able to relax more both inside and outside the ring, and I think part of the reason for that is because I'm so used to fighting away from home," added Gerula, whose record is 10-10-2. "There's no pressure on me because I'm always coming from somewhere else to fight the hometown girl. All the expectations are on her."

The challenger, currently ranked No. 5 on the planet by the WBC, knows the flip side, too.

Five years ago, in one of her rare Winnipeg appearances, Gerula suffered her only KO loss -- and it was Mrdjenovich who delivered it, in just her seventh pro outing.

"I didn't fight for more than a year after that, and when I came back I promised myself that one day I'd fight Jelena again and things would be different," said Gerula, who works as a full-time kick-boxing instructor.

"Getting this title shot means the world to me. I think I'm in the best shape of my life, and I'm planning on showing Jelena that I'm not the same fighter she defeated five years ago."


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