Central Queensland mine girl digs deep in boxing ring
MINE worker Shari Ranger has put her gloves up and is ready to step inside the ring opposite glamour boxer Lauryn Eagle.
The pair will go toe-to-toe in a pay-per-view fight broadcast around Australia on February 19 at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion as part of former IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale's fight against fellow Aussie Garth Wood.
A Muay Thai kickboxer who trains out of the CQ MMA gym in Rockhampton when she's not working in Dysart, Ranger turned professional as a boxer early last year in an effort to keep in shape with limited Muay Thai fighting opportunities.
Despite her 0-1 professional boxing record, her trainer Brenton Doblo was confident in his fighter's chances.
Ranger returned from a seven-year layoff in 2013 and is the current World Muay Thai Council Australian lightweight champion.
"Both of us are fairly confident," Doblo said.
"Taking nothing away from Lauryn - she's a great athlete, but if you have a look at the girls she's fought, they're only ever girls who were on debut.
"She has fought a few kickboxers but they're not of the calibre of Shari. Her (Ranger's) boxing skills are very good and we've got a lot of confidence in her."
Without giving away too much, Doblo said the team's tactics would be simple.
"From what I have seen, she doesn't seem to deal real well with pressure and getting hit, so that's what Shari will be doing," he said.
She plans to utilise the fight against Australian female lightweight titleholder Eagle as a an opportunity to keep in shape ahead of a possible showdown with world Muay Thai champion Caleey Reece in April.
The Reece-Ranger fight is expected to be confirmed after Reece fights Tiffany Van Soest in Las Vegas on February 7.
"Prior to the fight she has already done her mandatory title defences, so she doesn't have to put the belt on the line," Doblo said of Ranger's chances of fighting for the world title.
"We should know more about that fight in a month's time."
In the meantime, Ranger and her CQ MMA team are focused on the bout against Eagle.
Doblo said the next three weeks training would feature a bigger focus on boxing.
"We still have to do our Muay Thai training, but during all our sparring sessions we will definitely be boxing," he said.
"She turned pro early last year just because the Muay Thai fights are so far apart and there are a few more opportunities to get fights as a boxer in Australia," he said.
"Lauryn is a local girl down there so promoters wanted the opportunity for her to fight.
"There wasn't a girl who wanted to take the fight and we're in a position where we want the fight so it worked out perfectly."
Eagle is a former world championship water skier who turned to professional boxing in 2010.