Former champ Mlacic treads comeback trail

Mick Mlacic preparing for his first bout in a decade with his coach Brad Gallagher. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Mick Mlacic preparing for his first bout in a decade with his coach Brad Gallagher. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

BOXING

Most boxers enjoy a long preparation for a fight, but for former Australian lightweight champion ‘Magic’ Mick Mlacic his June 25 bout will be a match 10 years in the making.

The 34-year-old southpaw hasn’t fought since November 19, 2004 when he lost his Australian title to future WBF lightweight world champion Allan Luxford at Blacktown RSL.

The loss halted an eight-fight winning streak for Mlacic who, with an Australian belt on his mantelpiece, was content to hang up the gloves.

‘‘When I started boxing all I wanted to do was win an Australian title and after I won it I didn’t really set any other goals,’’ Mlacic said.

‘‘I always loved boxing but I didn’t really have any interest in fighting again.’’

It may have taken the best part of a decade but the fighting spirit gradually returned and under trainer Brad Gallagher at Dragonfit Fight Club, Mlacic has shed nearly 20 kilos in preparation for his return bout at welterweight (67kg).

‘‘It’s a bit like riding a bike. The punches are all still there it’s just the little subtle things like head movement and angles.

‘‘Getting fit again’s probably the hardest part. I was walking around at 80-odd kilos and I’m too small to be carrying that.’’

It may have been a long absence, but Mlacic doesn’t expect nerves to overwhelm him come the opening bell.

‘‘My head’s always pretty good. I back myself because I know I’ve done the work,’’ he said.

‘‘There are people better than me but I win because of my heart and my mental toughness. I never think I’m going to lose.’’

Coach Gallagher has full confidence in his charge.

‘‘He’s dropped about 20 kilos and there’s definitely glimpses of the old magic man,’’ Gallagher said.

‘‘We know this first fight is just the start of what we can do.

‘‘He’s got that fire and desire to be a champion again.’’

It’s a comeback of sorts for Gallagher who’s returning to his peak as a trainer after complications from epilepsy almost ended his career as a coach four years ago.

‘‘I woke up one morning four years ago and I couldn’t walk or talk and ended up in hospital for six months,’’ Gallagher said. ‘‘I was still training Brad Viegel but I couldn’t take on any more than one fighter because it was just too much of a drain to the system.’’

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