With female boxing at an all-time high in the UK, world-ranked British based Swedish sensation Lucy Wildheart aims to become a firm household favourite.
The 29 year old Brentwood domiciled featherweight ace, managed by Richard Maynard at Strike Sports Management, boasts the same key values as Swedish super-brands: the reliability of IKEA, the durability of Volvo and the A-lister star potential of ABBA.
The fair-faced ‘Dragon Queen’ has attracted full page spreads in both The Times and Daily Star this week ahead of her showdown with France’s experienced Marina Sakharov tomorrow night at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.
And early indicators suggest that the 5ft 5 ½in fiery redhead has the hardware to match the hype.
‘Female boxers are finally getting opportunities, securing sponsors, able to make a future for ourselves. I expect our side of the sport to grow even more over the next few years and I look forward to being a big part of that,’ states lightening Lucy who has triumphed in all but one of her 11 fights since storming the profession in May 2017 .
The laser-focused Swede has her sights firmly focussed on a mega-money 2023 showdown against 126lb division leader and leading female pound-for-pound contender Amanda Serrano, a New York-docked Puerto Rican who has conceded just twice in 46 public airings.
Well-hard Wildheart has herself succumbed just once, on points over 10 rounds in a June 2019 IBO lightweight challenge to French sensation Estelle Mossely in Cherbourg. It was just the Swedish stylist’s sixth per start, nine pounds above her optimal weight and against the 2016 Olympic champion. Yet the Scandinavian hotly contests the unanimous decision that went against her.
‘I believe those scores were wrong and I won the fight,’ she insists.
‘I pushed Mossely onto the back foot and threw more punches. Despite the verdict, I left feeling a winner. Looking back, traveling to France was not the best option.
‘Watching the fight back now, it’s as if we were both in slow motion. I’ve improved so much since. Today I’m much faster and read a fight far better.’
After traversing Europe and Africa to compile hard earned, lightly rewarded wins in the formative years of her career, the Växjö native is happily nestled in Essex with her partner and two dogs.
‘Today, I feel British. I wear both flags,’ claims the one-time IBO Inter-Continental lightweight boss.
‘Britain has done a lot for me and I’m here to stay. The houses here are very small. In Sweden we’re used to very big gardens but Brits are far more sociable and I’ve become a much better person since coming here.’
Coached by Samm Mullins at the upwardly mobile Churchill’s boxing facility in Waterloo, south London, with Richard Merchant overseeing strength and conditioning duties in Chelmsford and respected fight face Richard Maynard pulling the managerial strings, the support system is fully in place for the Wild One to launch her bid for global supremacy, now down at her optimal fighting weight.
‘It takes me three hours a day traveling to get to the boxing gym and another hour to get to my S & C training,’ states Wildheart.
‘There’s a really positive atmosphere at Samm’s gym, plenty of high-level female sparring where we can really ‘have it’. Sam explains things in a way I can understand. We focus mainly on technical skills and the basics. He also manages me very well, feels my feelings. He’s really made me believe in myself.
‘I hope Richard (Maynard) and I work together for the rest of my career. Together, we’ll win world titles, secure sponsorships, and really get our names out there.’
One name that Team Wildheart is desperate to be associated with is Serrano, the current WBC, WBO and IBO queen and a gateway to serious riches.
‘Amanda is a top, top fighter and a great person and I’d love to share a ring with her. I don’t shout or bully. I’m very professional but if calling Amanda out helps, that’s what I’ll do,’ concedes Lucy.
‘Yes, she has experience but I’ve been in the game a long time too. I’ve already proved competitive with plenty of good people, most notably Mossely who won the Olympic lightweight gold ahead of Katie Taylor.
‘If the opportunity arises, I will definitely take it and be confident I beat Amanda. I’ve more skill and I’m faster. To force the Serrano fight, firstly, I must win all the fights that are coming my way.’
First step comes at The York Hall tomorrow night (Friday 25th November) on the Wasserman Boxing promoted card when the Swede looks to mash industrial tough French veteran Marina Sakharov in a scheduled eight-rounder.
At the official weigh-in today held at Repton ABC, Wildheart scaled in at 125.06lb, while Sakharov came in at 125.03lb.
Debuting at the iconic East End boxing institution, and with the show covered by Channel Five cameras, it presents a gilt-edged opportunity for the ‘Dragon Queen’ to crowbar her name into Serrano’s conscious.
‘Can’t wait,’ enthuses Wildheart.
‘The British people love to go out to boxing, back their fighters and make serious sound. I love fighting here. I intend to show my focus, how much I really want this.’
‘In my last fight, the opponent didn’t come with much. It was more a chess game so I really hope that Marina brings her best game, comes with pressure. The better she is, the better I’ll need to answer. That way, we can give the fans a fight that leaves them cheering and screaming. I then hope I can do everything just a little bit better than her and win a great fight!
‘I hope to showcase that I’ve a great skill base, good technique. I’ve also got great power and can seriously hurt opponents when I get my body shots in. A stoppage will get me ranked higher, faster. She’s only been stopped once but if I hurt her, I’ll go mental. Just watch me.’