Danish international handball star Mathilde Hylleberg is full of admiration for her countrywoman Dina Thorslund, the WBO Female World Super Bantamweight Champion, who makes her first World title defence against Germany’s Alesia Graf on Saturday, January 19 at the Struer Energi Park in Denmark.
“I have great respect for Dina. You have to be made of something special to do what she is doing, and Dina really is made of something special,” says Hylleberg, who plays for top handball team TTH Holstebro and made her international debut at the European Women’s Handball Championships.
Hylleberg is from Struer, like Thorslund, and has been following the boxer’s career closely as both women look to dominate their chosen sports.
“I saw Dina’s last fight in Struer, when she became World Champion, and it was just unbelievable to be a part of,” says Hylleberg.
“It was a great experience to see the whole set up for a fight. In some ways, it is difficult to relate to as a handball player, but ultimately it’s all about winning.
“It’s just fascinating to follow Dina. She only has herself up there in the ring. She has no teammates to lean on, and on daily basis, she must motivate herself to train hard. That requires a very special mentality.”
Ahead of her World title clash with Graf, Thorslund joined Hylleberg, her TTH teammates and their coach Pether Krautmeyer for a special training session.
“It was really fun and hard in a way we are not used to, because there was a lot of endurance training,” said Hylleberg. “It was cool to get some variation in our training, though I must admit, I had a sore body the next day.”
Thorslund says she was impressed with the players’ efforts during the training.
“Mathilde and the rest of the girls have a very good approach,” she said. “They did exactly what they told, which was nice to see. You could tell that they weren’t used to doing some of the exercises, but it wouldn’t be fun if they were. They were under pressure when the new exercises came, but in general their shape was really good. Normal people would not have managed this training!”
On Saturday, it gets serious for Thorslund (12-0, 6 KOs), when she meets Germany’s Alesia Graf (29-7, 13 KOs) in a WBO World title defence, but the local hero can rest assured, that even though the job must be done alone, there will be a whole handball team and a jam-packed arena to support her efforts.
On an action-packed undercard, former European Champion Dennis Ceylan rematches Jesus Sanchez for the EU Featherweight crown.
Oliver Flodin faces Abdul Khattab in a Scandinavian middleweight thriller, heavyweight hope Kem Ljungquist takes on Dominik Musil, Lolenga Mock continues his World title chase against Mateo Damian Veron, Mikkel Nielsen meets Bulgaria’s Angel Emilov, and Adam Bashanov faces Ivan Nikolov.
Tickets are available via www.ticketmaster.dk or by calling 70 15 65 65.