An unexpected fight has been added to the Paul Gallen-Josh Aloiai undercard with Arabella Del Busso — the controversial ex-partner of Josh Reynolds — set to face model-turned-boxer Kate McLaren.
Del Busso became known in the rugby league circle after a highly-publicised break-up with Reynolds in which her disturbing lies were exposed, including faking pregnancies.
UK-born McLaren spent years working as a model, but now has her eyes on winning a world boxing title.
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McLaren has linked up with boxing legend Jeff Fenech, who confirmed to Foxsports.com.au that the fight is basically locked in pending a few final details.
He also said it was Del Busso who put the wheels in motion for the fight.
Although Fenech has trained female boxers before, this particular bout will be a first for him.
“I’ve been working with Kate for six to eight months,” he said.
“I’ve done a little bit of work (with other female boxers) but this is going to be my first time in the corner and everything else.
“She’s really dedicated, she works hard and she’s like the boys — she does everything the boys do. She’s good to work with, it’s exciting.”
McLaren was put in contact with Fenech through a mutual friend ahead of her first professional bout — which she won by unanimous decision in May — and it seems the 31-year-old left a lasting impression on the Australian hall of fame champion.
“I didn’t know she was a model at the start, I just got a call from someone one day saying ‘I have this girl and she’s having a fight can you show her a few things.’ So I showed her a few things, she came back twice and ended up winning that fight,” he said.
“The next day she sent me all these beautiful gifts thanking me.
“I’ve trained guys for 100 years and they haven’t bought me a thing. It was just her mannerisms (that impressed him) so I had a talk to her and told her I’d like to teach her.”
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Fenech knows it won’t be an easy feat — and acknowledged Del Busso’s stint on the brutal reality TV show SAS Australia — but he back’s McLaren’s ability to get the win.
“I know she’s trained with a lot of different people and I’ve seen some footage of her hitting pads and she’s cool, she’s strong,” Fenech said of Busso.
“Whatever she went on last, you’ve got to have guts to go on there.
“But I just think she’ll rip in, especially in the first round or so then when you start getting punched in the face a few times we’ll see what happens then… and I know Kate will do that.”
Despite McLaren winning her first professional bout — and having a background in mixed martial arts — Fenech admitted the aspiring lightweight is nervous.
He also is aware there could be a lot of rugby league fans rooting for McLaren after what Del Busso did to Reynolds.
“She’s nervous of course. But it’s my job to reassure her that I’ll never let her get hurt and I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t think she could win,” he said.
“She’s very confident — but nervous too.
“She knows she’s got a big job on her hand, a lot of people maybe want to see Kate beat up on Arabella for different reasons. But for us it’s just a fight.
“Everyone makes mistakes in life and for me, Arabella is a nice person. I know her, I’ve spoken to her and I’ve seen her at some boxing events before so I’ve got nothing to say…”
Although Fenech did throw in a little jab of his own: “But I might give Josh Reynolds a call and see if he wants to sponsor her.”
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Del Busso is yet to have a professional bout. She is working with Melbourne-based trainer Christian Ennor.
She told The Daily Telegraphshe is “a little bit terrified” but is looking forward to potentially ticking off a goal.
“This fight is something I can achieve in life… It is a very lonely sport but I am getting stronger and am understanding the sport. This would be a great achievement.”
Mclaren and Del Busso join a stacked undercard which includes retired rugby league star Chris Heighington taking on ex-Wests Tigers centre Joey Leilua.