30/05/2024

Stevan Ivic will meet 2012 Olympian Johan Linde on April 17 - Image: Premier Boxing Series (supplied), design by Theo Dimou

Flash back to late 2021 and if you’d have told Stevan Ivic (4-0, 2 KOs) that he’d be fighting an ex-Olympian for the Australasian heavyweight title on national television two years later, he’d have been found in disbelief.

Or, true to his affable nature, he’d have probably given a dismissive chuckle.

At that time, such an opportunity was seemingly a pipedream for the then 30 year old. Yet, he began to chase his dreams, regardless of the uphill climb in front of him.

Having resigned from his job and with a limited number of amateur fights to his name from a near decade of fighting sporadically, Ivic got to work. The space behind the reception desk at Brisbane’s Eastside Boxing Gym became his new home, keeping him company as he conjured dreams of representing Australia at international level.

It was here that he came to the first of many twists in the road.

I think I had 13 fights, but that was over the course of about 10 years. I took about 8 years off,” Ivic told The Inner Sanctum.

“My plan was to stay amateur and try and make a Commonwealth games team, a national team and try and get some international experience.

“Then they announced they didn’t want to take super heavyweights to the Birmingham Commonwealth games.

“At that point, it was the start of 2022. I was just like ‘okay, f*** it,’ I’ll just turn pro with the amateur experience I’ve got and see how it goes.”

Making the shift to the ranks of the professionals isn’t the only major change that Ivic underwent at this time, though.

In the midst of shifting focus to the pugilistic profession, the Queenslander was offered a life changing prospect – to fight men inside the ring and fires outside of it.

Presenting itself while Ivic was rehabilitating a fractured thumb, pursuit of the new venture resulted in a 12 month lay off. As such, the bright start to his fistic career was put on hold.

Unsure of what the future had in store, the heavy hitter was pleasantly surprised when the life of a graduate firefighter married well to that of a prize fighter.

“I was working as an aircraft technician back in 2021 and I just saw that they were advertising. I didn’t know anything about the job really,” he said.

“I was just like ‘it has to be more fun than what I’m doing now’ and then I applied, got through, and kind of forgot about it because it was about a year and a half until I got that call. In the meantime, I’d quit that job and started to focus on boxing professionally and dedicate everything to it. 

“It’s a pretty good gig. It’s four days on, four days off, so you do have a bit of time off.

“You’re effectively working six months of the year and they encourage you to be fit and healthy. They’ve got gyms at the station.

“They’ve gone really well hand in hand I think. I fluked it somehow. I didn’t plan for it to be like this but that’s how it ended up.” 

One element of Ivic’s objective that has remained consistent however, is the desire to compete against Australia’s best. That wish will be granted on April 17.

After 361 days out of the ring, he will square off with 2012 London Olympian, Johan Linde (4-1, 4 KOs).

Serving as the co-main event of the Premier Boxing Series show airing live on 7Plus, the pair will compete for the Australasian heavyweight title in front of a national television audience.

Even for the happy-go-lucky Ivic, the magnitude of the situation hasn’t been lost.

“It’s definitely a huge opportunity,” he said.

“It’s honestly hard to get my head around sometimes, like ‘really? am I going to fight in front of potentially millions of people for an Australasian heavyweight title against a former Olympian?’

“I didn’t plan really for any of this.”

Should he be successful, Ivic knows that his first professional title could be the key that unlocks the door to another level. From fighting longer bouts consistently, contests he believes he is “better suited,” to battling for more titles, the possibilities are limitless.

The ability to take the next step on the already winding road stops with Linde.

“I want to be as active as possible,” Ivic concluded.

“I don’t plan holidays, I don’t plan anything. My plan is just to be as ready as possible for if they give me the call or not.

“I understand I need to be as active as possible and get as many wins under my belt. If I could get four this year that would be great.

‘Also, I’d love to have the Australian title by the end of the year. 

“This is going to be no easy task. Obviously my hardest test to date. Let’s just focus on this next one, but yeah, the plan’s to climb as quickly as I can and make up for that 12 months off.”

Ivic vs Linde forms part of the Premier Boxing Series’ April 17 event, airing live on 7Plus.

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