Dina Thorslund Wins Rumble with Alesia Graf
“Dynamite” Dina Thorslund successfully defended her WBO super-bantamweight title with a unanimous decision against Alesia Graf, but Thorslund had to shed some blood along the way.
The champion, 121 ½, improved to 13-0 (6 KOs) in front of her hometown fans at Struer Energi Park in Denmark. Graf, 12
1 ¾, from Stuttgart, Germany is now 29-8 (13).
“It’s been a hectic week, but also a fantastic week,” said Thorslund, who earned her bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy a few days before the contest. “Two good experiences, two good results. The build up to this week was tough, but that just makes it more worthwhile to get the victory today.”
Thorslund is Denmark’s only current major titleholder since Mikkel Kessler, years ago.
Thorslund grabbed control quickly and never looked back on the way to a widespread verdict. Graf made a tough fight of it in one of those situations where accurate scoring doesn’t tell the whole story.
The women immediately set a fast pace but blocked most of each other’s punches in the early rounds. Thorslund scored with some solid left leads and a few thudding rights.
Graf was listed with around a three- inch height and reach advantage but forfeited that distance with a stance that ducked down into the darting Thorslund’s consistent charges.
They both stayed busy throughout, but Thorslund appeared stronger while Graf expended more energy in getting less done. By the midway point in round 5 the result was a foregone conclusion.
Just when it looked like Thorslund would start inflicting some real damage the challenger found her range and did better during the second half of the bout, while it turned into more of a brawl.
Graf’s best frame was the 6th, when she landed well as Thorslund came in.
It initially appeared referee Giustino Di Giovanni was being a bit excessive in repeatedly palming Graf’s forehead to caution her, but he proved correct at the start of the 7th when an accidental butt opened a deep cut over Thorslund’s left eye.
There were good exchanges down the stretch, but also more clinches. Thorslund remained unfazed and kept the pressure on to close the show as the streaming blood reinforced her warrior image.
Scoring: Jan Christensen and Ferenc Budai saw it 100-90, Grzegorz Molenda 99-91. The Prizefighters.com agreed with the shutout.
“The cut didn’t bother me,” Thorslund told the press afterward. “I only noticed it when the blood got in my eye.”
“I tried to keep a cool head. I was aggressive at the right times and when I got cut I didn’t risk opening up any more. I always want to stop my opponents, but that wasn’t necessary for me today.”
“I gave a good performance and gained valuable experience which I can take into bigger fights.”
A boisterous crowd came out for Thorslund’s initial defense of the belt she won last August against Yessica Munoz. It was her fourth fight in Struer and another good night for women’s boxing.
The still improving, 25 year old Thorslund has had three pro fights in Germany, but the rest have been in Denmark.
“It’s almost too much to hope for, but so far the support has improved every time,” said Thorslund to local media. “It’s hard to describe how much it means to have the people in Struer to back me up.”
Besides winning the championship, her biggest victory probably came against highly respectable Alicia Ashley, an experienced former titlist who has faced many of the best in the business.
Prior to the fight, trainer Thomas Madsen hinted that Thorslund may soon be broadening her ringside horizons, saying “We are looking to win more world titles and unify the division, and that may mean fighting abroad.”
Tonight’s opponent Graf is nicknamed “The Tigress.” Another boxer with that sobriquet is IBF champ Marcella Eliana Acuna from Argentina. Acuna is far more experienced than Thorslund, but also far older at 42.
With ongoing rumors of a women’s unification tournament near their weight division, Thorslund – Acuna could be a great place to start. The other alphabet belt holders are Yazmin Rivas (WBA) and Fatuma Zarika (WBC). Too bad there’s probably not enough promotional money to make things worthwhile for all of them.
In the meantime, Thorslund can still find plenty of action close to home, especially since another undefeated Denmark fighter, Sarah Mahfoud (8-0) is reportedly calling her out.
“It’s no secret I’d like to collect other belts,” said Thorslund with a smile. “I’ll start training again in the next couple of weeks, and be ready to defend my title when the time comes. If Sarah decides she is ready, I’d be more than happy to accept that challenge.”