(MAR 20) Delays due to the Australian
bushfires have fuelled champion boxer Susie Ramadan, giving her an
extra three weeks to hone her skills for her title defence tonight
(Friday March 20) against New Zealander Michelle Preston.
The Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super bantamweight
championship fight and rematch was due to take place on February 26
but was postponed because the venue, the Knox Netball Centre in
Ferntree Gully, was commandeered by the State Government as a
possible bushfire relief centre.
Ramadan, 29, initially won the title in November in a majority
decision over ten rounds when she fought Preston in only her seventh
professional outing. The win gave her a number 12 position in the
prestigious World Boxing Council (WBC) rankings grouping her among
the worldís most formidable female fighters.
Ramadanís trainer Ben Brizzi said he told her to take a break when
promoter Murray Thompson gave him the news of the delay.
ďI was a bit worried at first, I thought it would leave her a bit
flat. I told her to take the rest of the week off and half an hour
later I got a call from her and she said, ĎCan I come back to the
gym tonightí. She didnít miss a beat. I think itís actually helped
her. Itís given her more confidence. Sheís had time to improve a few
facets of her boxing,í he said.
And with the fire danger passed boxing fans can expect to see the
sparks fly between Ramadan and Preston, a UK born world kickboxing
champion who has 15 years ring experience.
Judges awarded the first 10 round fight to Ramadan who had turned
pro a year earlier after an impressive but short amateur career. The
early rounds were close fought and Prestonís experience and height
gave her an advantage. But by mid-fight, Ramadanís timing was on
song and Preston had trouble tagging her.
ďWhen I heard she wanted a rematch I thought Ďbring it onííí, said
Ramadan. ĎI would have liked to fight someone different but a
rematch will show how much I have improved. Iím expecting her in the
early rounds to rush at me and try and knock me out. But thatís OK.
Either way sheís going to tire herself out because Iím a good mover.
And Iím good on the front foot as well.íí
Preston, 28, said yesterday she believed the November decision was
fair but that she had underestimated Ramadanís boxing skills and
wanted a chance to redeem herself.
ĎI flit between boxing and Thai boxing usually. But this time all
Iíve done in preparation is boxing. All Iíve done is spar boxers and
try to emulate the boxing style and make sure I donít keep those old
movement patterns in place. Iíve been working the basics and Iím
feeling pretty confident and a lot fitter than I was last time,í she