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Third time's a charm
By Dave Spencer /
Courtesy report/
April 13, 2012

(APR 13) If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then clearly Jelena Mrdjenovich is clearly not insane. After two razor thin losses and twenty competitive rounds with Canadian rival Lindsay Garbatt, Mrdjenovich took things out of the judgeís hands and scored a crushing one-round TKO victory in front of her hometown fanís in Edmonton recently. FightNewís had the pleasure of catching up with the new WBC and WIBA Featherweight champion.

Join us in this special two part interview as Mrdjenovich talks of her recent first round knockout of Lindsay Garbatt, what she considers her biggest victory to date and how she managed to take the scorecards out of play.

FightNews: After the first fight and then the second with a similar result, was their any reluctance on your part to try for a third time?

Mrdjenovich: For me I was obviously preparing for a war. Lindsayís tough. The first two fights, it tough because I thought they were great fights from a fan standpoint, I mean there was non-stop action, I thought they could have gone either way though. Both fights I thought I won a narrow victory, but it just didnít go my way that night. Thereís obviously holes and flaws in my game that I saw, so I was preparing myself for another war. Weíve had two battles, twenty rounds of non-stop action and I was completely prepared for that and ready to leave everything out in the ring. I was just fortunate I didnít have to go to war that night because it ended quick.

FightNews: Was there anything specific you did in the fight or training that you felt if you were going to have to do to take the fight away from the judges.

Mrdjenovich: I think mentally for me I had to sit down and figure, these are the things I did wrong in the last fight. And then figure out the things that I need to do, I sat dwon with my coach and figured out what to do to make this fight a lot easier. I had to work behind my jab and that was the game plan, to work on the jab and let everything else just follow. I think keeping up the momentum from my last two fights. Iíd been in a similar situation with Olivia Gerula before where I went to war and I really didnít need to. I could have made that fight a lot easier on myself by just using my jab and working behind it. Thatís what made the difference in the Gerula fight, so that was the plan going into this fight with Lindsay. I sat down and said, I have to have discipline, I have to have focus to do what I need to do to get a ĎWí. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get these knockouts and to try and make entertaining fights instead of just focusing on doing what I need to do to win.

FightNews: You had a period there where you suffered five losses in six fights; allvery close, split decisions, majority decisions. How big was the win in Japan and then the subsequent win against Gerula to get you back to where you wanted to be.

Mrdjenovich: It was HUGE. People donít see, yeah I lost five out of six, but people donít see the caliber of the girls Iím fighting. Every girl I was fighting was either a former world champ, ranked top three in the world, in different weight categories. I had to take different things from each one to keep myself really motivated. Itís hard to answer the question because a lot of people have, not bad-mouthing me, but suggesting that maybe I should retire, that maybe I was at the end of my career and maybe on a downward slide, Iíve heard a lot of different things and itís really hard to hear that. I had to sit with my coach and weíd say, Ďyeah, weíre losing fights, but we donít really feel like weíre losing, but weíre not getting decisions. Itís hard because weíre at home where most people feel youíre going to get a decision or have things go your way. And thereís a lot of pressure at home.

"...this is what I love to do and I just want to fight..."

We sat down and said Ďwhy donít we go on the road?í Why donít we pick a fight away from home with no pressure and just fight. Just have fun. For me, thatís exactly what I needed. I needed to get out of town, I needed to get away from the fans and all the hype of fighting at home. Get away from people asking if I need a knockout to win. Just get my mind set on, this is what I love to do and I just want to fight. So Tokyo was huge. We went away, we were there a week before, we felt great. Did I want to knockout Fujin? Absolutely, but I knew I was I needed to go in and just leave it all in the ring. I think that was the big thing for me.

FightNews: If that was that huge, how big was the subsequent knockout of Gerula? It had been quite a while with very few knockouts.

Mrdjenovich: It was hard because a lot of people look at me and say youíre known as a knockout artist, how come youíre knocking these girls out? You know what, the girls Iím fighting are tough. The girls Iím fighting are the ones who are knocking other girls out. Anybody who has boxed or is a big fan of the sport knows that when you force these things, they donít come as often as they should. I think for me, the Olivia knockout was monumental in my career because it meant more than just a title, it meant more than just a fight. For me it was redemption and proving something to myself. It meant I was back on track, back to being me, and back to doing what I do well. I wasnít expecting a knockout, I wasnít going for a knockout, I was going to win a fight. We were using open scoring and I knew no matter what, I was winning that fight. I could have lost the last two rounds, I still would have won the fight. For me, I did everything I wanted to do in that fight. I was winning the fight decisively and the knockout was just icing on the cake. I think honestly it was one of the most satisfying fights of my career so far.

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