Ivana Habazin: This opportunity is a miracle, but I also plan to perform a miracle
Croatia's best female boxer, Ivana Habazin, got an unexpected opportunity to fight at, as some call it, the greatest match in the history of women's boxing. She is to fight undefeated Cecilia Braekhus from Norway, while the winner of the match will got four most important boxing titles all in one.
Ivana Habazin is preparing for what every athlete dreams of: the opportunity to become world's number one. However, to become the world's best she will have to defeat Cecilia Braekhus who was often called the best female boxer of all times, not only in her division, but in general.
The match is to take place in Denmark on September 13.
You hoped for this opportunity after you won the IBF title. Were you surprised they called you?
I actually hoped for this opportunity four years ago when I started boxing, but back then I never expected it would come to such a match with all these titles in one. This is the first time in the history of women's boxing. It happened twice before in men's boxing. This means that the winner of this match will be the third person in history to win four greatest titles in one. I was not surprised they called me because I knew the winner of the IBF title was to fight Cecilia. That was my motive in the last match.
Boxing fans know about Cecilia Braekhus, but can you explain us why do they call her the best female boxer in history?
Cecilia Braekhus has an amazing score. She was world's and European kickboxing champion, she has 80 amateur boxing matches with 75 wins and 25 wins in professional boxing matches. She fought 15 title matches. She is the holder of three most prestigious titles, she trains, she loves it and she has great logistics which makes her invincible.
How will you compete with her incredible technique? Other girls tried different tactics, but Cecilia has never been seriously threatened.
My coach Vladimir Božić and I developed the tactic and we will try to threaten her and win, of course.
Are you relieved by the fact that you are young and have nothing to lose? Your victory is not an imperative.
The imperative is always there, but it's not the most important thing. I might be young, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This opportunity is a miracle itself and to win I will have to perform another miracle. However, I will do my best. I am well prepared, but it's in God's hands.
How do your friends and family react to you being a boxer? And how did they react when you started boxing?
Their comments have been more than positive, really great. Sometimes I get messages with people telling me that I inspired them to do something with their lives and to never give up. This is precisely what is most important to me. I want to help people. I want them to be happy, satisfied, I want them to believe in their dreams and to make them come true.
You mentioned several times that your coach Vlado Božić is really the most responsible person for all you have achieved. But who are the other members of your team?
Yes, my coach and Domagoj and Danijela Ratković. They are the people I owe my success to. They are the only people I owe it besides my family and friends. They believed in me, invested in me when I had no one to rely on, even though they were in difficult situation too. They did it because they love boxing and because they saw something that I maybe couldn't completely believe in. Which is me becoming world champion. I am immensely grateful to them.
Was the defeat to Eva Halasi somehow your turning point? You were extremely angry after that match. Do you still hope for a rematch?
Definitely, this defeat taught me a lot. Then I realized what was boxing about. But I have to say something about that fight. It was not defeated by Eva Halasi, I was defeated by myself. I did some things wrong during the camp and it came out. Eva is an extremely good athlete, but she is not a better boxer. That defeat haunted my for a long time, but when I looked outside of the box, I realized it taught me more than ten victories and I'm not sorry. I wanted a rematch, but I heard Eva is not boxing anymore, so…
Who is your idol?
What are you like when you're not in the ring?
You should ask my friends [laughs]. What can I say? Normal, simple, not much different from the others.
Interview by Mario Katušić