Swedish boxer wins women’s world title

Swedish boxer wins women's world title
Swedish boxer Mikaela "Destiny" Laurén won the World Professional Boxing Federation title in the welterweight class in Karlstad in western Sweden on Friday.

Laurén, ranked 10th in the world, and fifth-ranked Jill Emery of New York fought through six rounds before Laurén emerged victorious, winning 3-0 on the judges’ scorecards.

A former member of Sweden’s national swim team, Laurén was later arrested by police in an apartment full of doping materials and sentenced to 14 months in prison, serving 10 of them.

Her fall from grace made headlines when teammate and longtime friend Therese Alshammar went public and distanced herself from Laurén, breaking contact.

“I learned who my real friends were,” Laurén told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Laurén, who also models, later turned to boxing, competing in her first professional boxing match in May 2009.

Friday’s match began with slight hesitation as the two boxers sized each other up. Laurén worked her way into the match with each successive round. Emery is a left-handed boxer, which was something of a new challenge for Laurén.

In the end, however, Laurén seized home-ring advantage, winning the match as three judges favoured her 59-56, 59-56 and 58-56.

“I am so incredibly happy. This is what I’ve fought so hard for,” she said in a post-match statement.

Laurén has now won her six matches as a pro, one by knockout, the rest on points.

She is now setting her sights on the possibility of fighting the world’s top-ranked welterweight, Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus, at Stockholm’s Globen Arena.

“The dream is to meet her in a title fight at Globen. I grew up in Enskede with Globen as a neighbour. It’s my home turf. It would attract a hell of a lot of people if it became a reality,” she told Aftonbladet.

One hitch is that a title fight for heavier weight classes requires a match of 10 rounds. Since Sweden’s ban on professional boxing was lifted, only fights of six rounds are permitted.

The boxing gala in Karlstad in which Laurén competed was also the first time in 40 years that men were allowed to box six rounds in Sweden, albeit with special permission from the Örebro county administrative board.

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