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09th Sep 2015

BAMMA 22’s Catherine Costigan says nothing has changed as she faces late opponent switch-up

Short notice swap

Darragh Murphy

10 days to go but nothing’s changed.

Catherine Costigan was putting the finishing touches to her fight camp when she found out that the woman she’d been solely focused on for the past two months was not going to be the fighter standing opposite her on Saturday week.

Costigan’s original opponent Simona Soukupova withdrew from the atomweight showdown at the 3Arena next weekend and Norway’s Celine Haga has stepped in on short notice.

“I couldn’t tell you what happened with Simona,” Costigan said. “I’ve heard rumours that she injured herself in sparring but nothing concrete as to why she withdrew.

“I know Simona and what kind of a fighter she is. She wouldn’t pull out of a fight unless she was genuinely injured but anyway, it’s Celine Haga now so onwards and upwards.”

Haga (7-13) may not have the most threatening record on paper but, having trained at the legendary Jackson Wink academy, she’s far from a walkover and The Alpha Female is not taking the challenge for granted.

“Don’t be misled by her record because, for years, Celine was taking fights with people she probably shouldn’t have. Whether it was people above her level or fighters heavier than her, that record is not reflective of Celine’s skills.

“She’s genuinely an elite level grappler and she’s someone I admire very much. I wanted to fight her for many years, just like I did with Simona and now it’s Celine who’s next on my list of names to be crossed off.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy fight because Celine is the real deal. She’s with Greg Jackson now and there are world champions coming out of his gym so I’m definitely not taking her lightly.”

With just over a week until Costigan gets her hands wrapped for the seventh time in her professional career, there’s not much time to change gameplans but the Limerick fighter is confident that her camp will pay dividends and she will rebound from the first time she tasted defeat when she lost to Amber Brown in June.

“Nothing changes,” Costigan said. “Obviously Haga poses some new challenges but I train in every position. She’s going to be dangerous in all areas and wouldn’t have taken the fight if she didn’t think she could win but my camp has been amazing.

“It was a much better camp than the one leading up to my Invicta debut and I really was locked in the gym working to get back in the win column. We’ve been clever about training and the fact that I don’t have to travel overseas is huge for me.

“BAMMA 22 is going to be absolutely massive,” Costigan added. “It’s the most important fight in my whole career and I’m going to make sure that I bring back the win. ”

Tickets for BAMMA 22, which takes place on September 19 at the 3Arena, are still on sale can be bought here and to learn more about Catherine or to help out with donations, you can visit her website at