Ivana Habazin will make the first defence of her IBO Female World Middleweight Championship against Gifty Amanua Ankrah on September 8 at the Arena Zagreb as chief support for Filip Hrgović’s WBC International title challenge.
Habazin the former IBF Welterweight World Champion, who was involved in a historic unification fight with female pound-for-pound star Cecilia Brækhus in 2014, travelled to Vienna, Austria in March to claim the IBO World Middleweight title with a fifth-round technical knockout win over Elene Sikmashvili.
“It was make or break for me,” reveals Habazin. “I decided that if I did not win that fight, I would pursue other avenues outside of boxing. This motivated me to do my best and win another World title. It meant everything to me because I put everything on the line, that victory also cemented in me the belief once more that I can be the best female boxer ever.”
Habazin now returns home for a huge fight night in the Croatian capital where she will defend her IBO World title against Ghana’s Gifty Amanua Ankrah, and the 28 year-old is promising a spectacular performance for the fans at the Arena Zagreb.
“The pressure to perform in front of my hometown supporters is very large, but I welcome any challenge,” she says. “I am using this pressure as motivation to give my fans and supporters the best fight they have ever seen from me.
“It’s a massive honoir and source of motivation to fight at home, but, when the bell rings, I am no longer in my hometown, I am in the ring and all my focus is inside the ring. My goal is to beat anyone and everyone who enters the ring with me including Cecilia Braekhus. When I get my rematch with her I will prove to everyone that I am the best female boxer.”
Habazin was originally scheduled to fight on August 26 in South Africa but an elbow injury forced her to withdraw from this contest. However the Zagreb-boxer has benefitted from a tough training camp with renowned coach James Ali Bashir.
“For this fight I’ve had my most grueling preparations yet,” she says. “Training in South Africa at Visser professional boxing training camp for 2 months at 2000 metres above sea level with my new coach James Ali Bashir.
“We worked daily and he helped me reach new heights in my boxing. His passion for the sport is infectious and every time I train with him I feel a hunger and motivation to become the best female boxer the world has ever seen. Currently, I have a small elbow injury, but it will be healed within the next days and I will be ready for this fight.”