Gunnedah’s Enja Prest was controversially beaten in her second professional bout against Ella Boot on Wednesday, December 22 at the Star Casino.
It was the first bout on the pay-per-view card, headlined by NRL and Sharks legend Paul Gallen who defeated former Manly forward Darcy Lussick by a third-round technical knockout victory.
Prest’s opponent, Boot, is trained by the legendary boxing trainer, Johnny Lewis and impressed in the opening round, finding her shots and setting the pace. But it was the final three rounds which came into question, adding some controversy on fight night.
All three judges scored the bout 40-36, meaning Boot won every single round on each of the three scorecards and Prest’s corner which featured David (Spike) Syphers, Wade Ryan and Todd Makelim were rightly frustrated with the decision.
Australian boxing legend, Jeff Fenech, was part of the commentary team on the night and was also left questioning the ringside judges who favoured the Sydneysider.
While it was disappointing to not be recognised for her hard work and efforts in the four rounds fought, Prest is still pleased with her performance and still believes she did enough to have won the fight.
“It took me a little bit to find my groove in the first round but every round after that I think I won,” Prest said.
“I was disappointed in the result, but I wasn’t disappointed in my performance but I know there is always more you can do.
“Even when I looked at my phone after the fight and saw what people were saying, it was similar to what Spike was saying. I just feel the judging was quite poor and I had a lot of people saying it should have gone to me or other people saying it could have been a draw.
“It definitely shouldn’t have been a unanimous decision.”
Despite the frustration with the judges’ scorecards, the loss now moves Prest to 1-1 as a professional fighter and while this isn’t an ideal record after an incredible performance, Prest is still highly regarded in the women’s welterweight boxing division.
Prest told the Gunnedah Times about future opportunities and No Limit’s willingness to welcome the Gunnedah local onto another boxing card early this year with a date in March a real possibility.
“The promoters said they were happy to put me on again, so hopefully I can get on with another card,” she said.
“This fight is only going to give me more experience. Being around that type of atmosphere and the exposure you get, it can only help my career.
“Toddy said in the changerooms ‘these fighters with these non-tarnished records are not going anywhere,’ you have to step up and fight these tougher opponents early on in your career, it’s only going to make the end part of your career more successful.”
As prolific as boxing is in the world of sport, the one criticism is fighters padding their records against what some may categorise ‘easy’ opponents. It helps these athletes look appealing to gain traction as they hunt for a world title.
Like fiancé, Wade Ryan, Prest’s goal is to fight anyone, anywhere and this means taking on risky fights. It has proven to be successful for Ryan and will be beneficial for Prest as they both continue to chase shots at a world title in the near future.