Often you will read of how a boxer instantly clicked with boxing. It was meant to be. They quickly picked up the fundamentals and soon it became like riding a bike. It is rare that anyone will admit the opposite.
Showing what they believe to be a sign of weakness is not generally open for discussion. ‘I’ve had a good camp,’ we will be told. Not long afterwards, it turns out to have been their worst preparation ever.
Whether it is down to her laidback nature or an honesty that is perhaps bulletproof to negativity, Lucy Wildheart (yes, that is her real second name) told Boxing Social how the sport wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for her early on.
“I found boxing very difficult in the beginning,” she confessed. “I always learned things very quickly, but boxing was so difficult. I struggled so much.”
The 27-year-old Swedish super-featherweight, who will soon be moving down to 126lbs, has amassed a record of 6-1-0 (3 KOs) in three years, but has always been an individual who needs to be active.
“Some people, including me, if we sit down for too long that’s when things start hurting. My knee starts hurting, my hips start hurting. You need that mobility and some movement. I’m always on my feet and that’s what my body likes to do,” she said.
Wildheart is someone who needs to be learning all the time. She was a dancer at one stage in her life and also found a love for karate for 10 years.
“I’m probably still better kicking with my feet than I am throwing my hands,” she laughed. “Boxing is so, so much more. If you are not doing the thing correctly then you are going to get hit in the face and that makes a difference in sports where you don’t have to hit someone.”
From the challenges of boxing came a desire to want to perfect it. There were dreams of the Olympics at the beginning but picking up the sport at 20 meant time wasn’t on her side. Could Wildheart forge a career for herself in the professional ranks though? Her mother, with whom she has a close relationship (missing their Sunday dinners back home in Småland), had doubts.
“When I was an amateur, I had already decided I wanted boxing as my future,” said Wildheart, “but she’s always been a bit on my case like you need to get a job, a proper job like normal people do. Since she’s watched three or four of my professional fights, she’s now on my side. She supports me now more than ever, more than anyone can do. She’s always there for me.”
Those Sunday dinners, while they were a home comfort, haven’t exactly snowballed into an avalanche of homesickness. Wildheart’s home and life are now in England with her partner and their dog whilst her work is carried out at Churchill’s Boxing Gym in London with head coach Samm Mullins. The life as a boxer continues.
Wildheart has had no fights in 2020 so far, as is the case for so many other boxers, but there is still a chance to get one in before she fights someone with a good ranking in 2021.
Next year will be Wildheart’s fourth as a professional boxer. One week after she made her professional bow, Katie Taylor stopped Nina Meinke to win her first professional belt (the WBA International) at Wembley Stadium, on a night where Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko gave us a world heavyweight title fight to remember.
Taylor, Claressa Shields, Cecilia Braekhus, Amanda Serrano and others have spearheaded the revolution in women’s boxing. Big venues, big promoters and headline events are taking their sport to a whole new level. Whilst Wildheart recognises their role, she is focusing solely on herself and hoping to become an inspiration in her own right.
“I want to do my journey and I honestly don’t have any of the female boxers as an idol because one day I feel like I am going to be there,” she said. “I look at the men’s boxing sometimes and, while women’s boxing is hard, the men’s power is harder, so I respect them all so much. Also, I look into other sports and how great they have done and how they think. I don’t think too much about the other women, I think about myself more.”
Lucy Wildheart, the name just screams star attraction. As for the surname and its origins, it doesn’t exactly make you think of Sweden, well that story is hers to tell in a book one day. It’s a long one and better shared in such a medium, she says. But if you ever watch the Swede fight, this is what you can expect.
“I can be very aggressive, but you will see that I am trying to be technical, too, trying to slip and move side to side because that’s what I’ve learned to do. I’m a mix of things in the ring. Everyone would say different. I feel like I can do everything, but you need to put it all together,” she said.
“Obviously, I’m now training to be more compact in getting my shots in. I’m very powerful but I don’t really use it. Once I use it, then that’s a level up for me. I feel like I have been different in my fights and it depends on my opponents. In my fights, I’m trying to learn new stuff because now is the time to do it.”