Warrnambool's Neekz Johnson vying for the World Boxing Association's Oceania Title

GLOVES UP: Gretel de Paz from the Phillippines will be fighting Warrnambool's Neekz Johnson at the War in the 'Bool 2 on Saturday night. Picture: Christine Ansorge
GLOVES UP: Gretel de Paz from the Phillippines will be fighting Warrnambool's Neekz Johnson at the War in the 'Bool 2 on Saturday night. Picture: Christine Ansorge

SWAPPING the sun-bathed shores of the Gold Coast for the icy winds of the south-west is about to pay dividends for Warrnambool’s newest professional fighter.

Neekz Johnson is chasing the World Boxing Association’s Oceania Title, gearing up to battle Filipino opponent Gretel de Paz at War in the ‘Bool 2 on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old, who has trained under the tutelage of Warrnambool’s Rudy Ryan, said she was at peak fitness leading into the bout.

“My preparation has been fantastic. I feel super fit and strong,” Johnson told The Standard.

“My whole team behind me have done a great job supporting me. 

“I’ve been lucky enough to have some really good weather over the last three months. I’ve been adapting to the move and I’m starting to really enjoy Warrnambool.

“I guess it’s a place I could call home.”

I guess (Warrnambool) is a place I could call home.

Neekz Johnson

Johnson said she would assess the state of the bout after the first two rounds before pushing hard late in the 10-round event.

“We’ll go through and see what (Gretel de Paz) does first up, and then we’ll look to mix it up if we have to,” she said.

Speaking through a translator, de Paz said she was nervous yet excited for the fight. “I fought in Macau last month, so I’ve trained hard for this,” de Paz said.