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When I attend a boxing match, I bring a wish list with me. I am not particularly picky about the size, weight or gender of the pugilists but I want to see technically brilliant, fast, accurate and unpredictable movement . . . and an occasional slugfest.
Eva Wahström, 34, the Finnish super featherweight boxer (168 centimetres, 58,9 kilos), has exceeded my requirements each and every time.
After seeing her beat the hell out of the focus gloves with sharp jabs and combinations in parallel with light footwork at the press training on Thursday, I am assured she is in the shape of her life when she faces the Argentinian, Natalia Vanesa del Valle Aguirre (161 centimetres, 57,1 kilos), 25, at the Helsinki Arena on Saturday at a vacant WBC World female super featherweight title in a 10-round bout.
Even though Wahlström has more experience under her belt (13 wins, 1 draw and zero losses), the fight is likely not going to be a piece of cake against Aguirre (7 wins, 3 losses and 3 draws), who is a southpaw.
I was especially impressed of Aguirre’s light and relaxed movement while she devoured into some light focus glove work in front of the cameras.
But this was not the kind of movement Wahlström was preparing for.
She was supposed to face a Bosnian counterpart, Irma Balijagic Adler, of about the same age, 33.
Adler has more fights in her record – 15 to be exact and 5 losses. But she had to cancel because of an unexpected pregnancy. Yes: in boxing, anything is possible.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t concern Wahlström much.
“All my life I have trained with different kinds of opponents, including those with less pure boxing style,” she said to me after bursting into laughter when she thought about the sudden need in the change of tactics.
She said she took a few sparring matches with a southpaw, a boxer fighting from the right lead, which has been the most cumbersome fighting style for Wahlström.
“I will survive.”
Wahlström was around 15 when she put on the boxing gloves for the first time. After winning several national championships, two Nordic championships and two European championship silvers as an amateur, she turned pro in 2010.
Even though unbeatable in the ring, during her career, she has suffered from back problems and in 2012 her career was almost about to end when she was struck with a pulmonary embolism.
However, she returned to the ring in 2013 with a beautiful victory over the Polish former kickboxing world champion, Anna Sikora.
Wahlström said that the fight against Aguirre might turn into a “war”.
“She might attack me with anything. You can’t predict her.”
Sounds like the fight is going to exceed my wish list by a kilometre.
[divider]Time for the Titles – A Boxing Night in Helsinki[/divider]
The event starts at 18 at the Helsinki Arena (Areenakuja 1). Eva Wahlström’s fight is likely to start around 22:00.