Alicia Ashley (24-11, 4 KOs) has arrived in Denmark, ready for her WBC Female World Super Bantamweight Championship contest against undefeated hometown hero Dina Thorslund (10-0, 6 KOs) on Saturday at the Struer Energi Park.
Accompanied by legendary coach Hector Roca, the former two-time WBC World Champion touched down in Copenhagen earlier this week, and came face-to-face with Thorslund today at a press conference at the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel.
“I’m very happy to be here. I have fought all over the world and I’m looking forward to showcasing my skills for the Danish fans on Saturday,” said Ashley.
“I’m a boxer. I will use my movement and experience, but I can also stand and fight. I have a lot of weapons in my arsenal. Fighting away from home, I might be the underdog, but I have been in this situation many times before and have come out on top.”
Born in Jamaica, Ashley moved to America as a child and grew up in Brownsville, the tough Brooklyn neighborhood, which among other notable fighters has produced former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe and Shannon Briggs.
“I moved to America when I was 11 years old and grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I was raised by a single mother with 2 older brothers, and we had a very competitive and highly disciplined upbringing,” she says.
Still based in New York, the fighter known as ‘Slick’ trains out of Brooklyn’s legendary Gleason’s Gym, and on Saturday, will rely on a wealth of experience with veteran coach Hector Roca and former pro-fighter Ada Velez comprising her corner team.
Roca has trained multiple World Champions including Boxing Hall Of Famer Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti, and was even tasked with training Oscar wining actress Hilary Swank for her role the Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby. While, Velez, a former World title-holder, returns to Denmark following a competitive 2004 fight with Anita Christensen in Aarhus.
Despite her opponent’s optimism, Thorslund insists she is ready to write her name in the history books as the first Danish World Champion since Mikkel Kessler defeated Brian Magee in 2012, and only the second female World Champion after Anita Christensen.
“I have a lot of respect for Alicia and what she has acheived in her career, but it’s my time now,” says Thorslund. “I have trained really hard, and on Saturday night, I look forward to winning my first World title in front of my home fans in Struer.”
With current champion Fatuma Zarika injured, Thorslund and Ashley will contest the ‘interim’ WBC title. Upon her return, Zarika will fight the winner of Thorslund and Ashley to determine the WBC’s ‘undisputed’ 122lbs champion.