Not only is Olivia (The Predator) Gerula finally going to fight in her hometown again, but she’s going to get to defend her world title as well.
Gerula will put her WBC super featherweight belt on the line on July 8 when she fights Brooke (No Mercy) Millbrook at Winnipeg’s Convention Centre.
“I knew I’d be fighting at home. I just didn’t think I’d get to defend here,” Gerula said Friday. “That’s the one thing that surprised me, so I’m so excited about that. I’m looking forward to it like nobody’s business.”
Gerula’s manager and promoter, local autobody shop owner John Vernaus, found a way to swing it financially to put on the title bout, whose WBC sanctioning fees cause the card’s cost to rise significantly.
“I took a cut of what I normally make as a fighter,” said Gerula, who turns 31 on Saturday. “I’m hoping that this is going to go over so well that we can keep doing this at home. That’s the goal. I love the whole globetrotting and I’ve enjoyed the trips and I still want to do that, by all means, but I’d love to have that fan base here as well.
“I’ll be making some percentages on my ticket sales, so I’ll be out there selling tickets, let me tell you. I hope to have almost everybody I know at the fight.”
Gerula won a non-title fight in Japan last March, captured her belt a month later in Edmonton over Jelena Mrdjenovich and then defended it in France against Myriam Chomaz in December.
She had to defend her crown or lose it, so the WBC gave her a list of 11 contenders from which to choose. She picked Millbrook, an Illinois native who is 6-4-1 with three knockouts.
“On paper you can’t really measure somebody,” said Gerula, who has a record of 12-10-2 with three KOs. “You look at my record on paper and you’d think she probably has the advantage. But come fight time it’s a whole different story.
“Even though she was my first pick, I’m definitely not underestimating her. She could have been the best of the bunch or the worst of the bunch. You never know.”
The July card will also feature Larry (Razor) Sharpe of Pine Falls in what is expected to be his final fight before retirement as well as former Winnipegger Junior Moar, the reigning Canadian light heavyweight champ who now lives in Richmond, B.C.
For tickets, contact Vernaus at 982-4540.