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Prefight Coverage of Ramadan
By Mischa Merz
March 20, 2009


(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 said.


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