Michael Mlacic shakes off 'ring rust' to front Dela Cruz

BOXING

Michael Mlacic

Michael Mlacic

A month's wait has been frustrating, but Wollongong boxer "Magic" Michael Mlacic has got used to waiting after spending a decade out of the ring.

The former Australian lightweight champion will make a belated return to the ring on Saturday against the experienced Joel Dela Cruz at Moree, after his initial return bout last month fell through.

The fight over six rounds on the undercard to Moree home-town hero and London Olympian Cameron Hammond's bout with tough Argentine Alfredo Rodolfo Blanco, will be a daunting match-up after such a long layoff, but Mlacic's DragonFit Fight Club coach Brad Gallagher said his charge has taken it in his stride.

"When his other fight fell through, I gave him the week off but he was back in the gym the next day," Gallagher said.

"He's been training the house down and it's a long-awaited comeback for him.

"It's been a long preparation now, it's been a good four months but we needed it and the whole DragonFit team have been great.

"Ten years out of the game there's always going to be ring rust and that sort of stuff but we've worked hard on getting him back to where he should be."

Dela Cruz promises to be a tough opponent, having fought the likes of Saturday's headliner Hammond, rising welterweight star Sam Ah See, Gairy St Clair and Lenny Zappavigna but Gallagher said "Magic" will be "too classy" and skillful despite the long layoff.

"It's a hard tough fight. There's not many blokes who would come back off a 10-year layoff and fight this bloke. There's not many who'd do it but credit to him he's taken it."

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