Nothing much scares Erin McGowan. She's doesn't fear getting hurt. And she's not afraid of taking the fight into enemy territory.
Only one thing really worries the professional boxer - losing.
That happens rarely. She's lost one of 15 fights and that was when she dominated Monica Silvina Acosta in Buenos Aires last year but lost on the scorecards of the three Argentine judges.
The World Boxing Council declared the light welterweight title fight a sham and ordered a rematch but, as so often happens in boxing, politics was played below the belt and she sat out for the next nine months waiting for her contract with a Florida promoter to lapse.
Now she is preparing to drop down to lightweight to go on the road again, against the highly credentialed Belgian Delfine Persoon, 27, for the vacant IBF world title in Antwerp on September 21.
"Boxing promoters are paying big money just to bring bums into Australia - they're not world-class," she says with a verbal right hook as fearsome as the real thing. "I'm prepared to go into their home town to fight the best in the world."
McGowan, ranked No.7 in the world, is 173cm tall, has a reach of 166cm and is coming down from 64kg to the fighting limit of 61.23kg.
Her opponent is No. 2 in the world but her other details are hard to find, keeping the Australian at arm's length. "I think that sucks," McGowan said. "So I'm the underdog but I like being the underdog."
McGowan says she couldn't survive without her WA sponsors Elcord and Saferight and her employer Mimprovise, which gives her plenty of downtime as a fly-in, fly-out administration officer on mine sites. She will miss her son Ethan, a Year 8 student at Kelmscott Senior High School.
For McGowan, 31, the aim is to add to her growing reputation as one of the world's best boxers.
She once held a World Boxing Organisation crown and now wants two more titles. "I want three world titles," she says. "I have given up my dream of making money for the sport, so I'd be happy with that."
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