Lights, Camera, Action!


Michelle Preston outpoints Nicilia Costello to win WBA Oceania super flyweight title

It was a fiercely contested battle between two determined opponents but in the end, Michelle Preston emerged with the WBA Oceania super flyweight title.

Nicilia Costello (4-2-0, 2 KOs), who was replacing original opponent Phannaluk Kongsang, started quickly with her trademark aggressive style. She worked the body with big looping punches for most of the first four rounds that forced Preston (10-8-1, 2 KOs) and her corner to make some adjustments.

Preston, a five-time world kickboxing and two-time world title challenger, started using her reach advantage and footwork to outbox and counterpunch Costello for most of the rest of the fight to earn the unanimous decision.

“I’m pretty happy with how the fight went,” a celebratory Preston said to The Crossfire. “The first couple of rounds, Nicila tried to overwhelm me with looping right hands. Nothing I wasn’t expecting and couldn’t deal with, and the fighter in me wanted to stand and bang, but my trainer Jason reminded me about the game plan and outboxing a brawler, which is essentially what I did for the remainder of the fight.

“Hit and move, make her miss and get in and out throwing punches in bunches. Nicila was a tough opponent and we both put on a show right til the very end, but I wasn’t going home without that belt.”

Costello came into the fight hoping to add another title to her mantle, which includes the Australian women’s flyweight title. With many of her supporters in attendance, she started fast, but seemed unable to respond to the midway adjustments of Preston. However, she was gracious in defeat.

“It was an awesome fight to be a part of,” a disappointed Costello said to MMA Crossfire. “It was hard fought on both sides, and the crowd and atmosphere was epic. I thought we had taken the win, so it’s unfortunate not to be going home with the title – but ultimately, I’m here to learn and grow as a fighter and athlete, and I already know how much better I’ll be for having fought that battle.

“Congrats to Michelle and I hope we get to have a re-run of the match up. I think we made for an entertaining fight, and I know she’ll continue to push me to be my best!”

With the win, Preston, who resides in New Zealand is from the U.K., now has two WBA regional titles in her collection. She is the first female to win the Oceania title in New Zealand, five years after Gentiane Lupi became the first champion from New Zealand. She is expected to fight Kongsang, who was the original opponent.

Costello also made history as the first person from the LGBT community to fight for the title. It is unclear at this time what her next fight will be.


With files from Benjamin Watt

Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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