Linn Sandstrom: “My Main Goal Is To One Day Become A World Champion.”

Linn Sandstrom: “My Main Goal Is To One Day Become A World Champion.”

From being born in Brazil then moving onto Sweden before finding a base in Australia the globetrotting Linn Sandstrom has certainly covered more than her fair share of air miles in her short life.

Sandstrom has a degree in marketing and was a former elite table tennis player in Sweden, the road to boxing was certainly a diverse one. I can only remember the former big punching Canadian Donovan ‘Razor’ Ruddock having any kind of tennis connections before turning to a life in boxing. Ruddock had ambitions of being a professional tennis player before thoughts turned to hitting heads rather than backhands.

Sandstrom left a successful table tennis career behind to make the transaction to boxing. She walked into a gym in Bondi Beach to regain some lost fitness, and a new life was formed:

“Four years ago I started boxing I just wanted a new challenge. I’d been playing table tennis before that and I wanted to try something new. At first, it wasn’t my intention to fight but after doing the training I decided I wanted to fight. Since I quit table tennis I had gained a bit of weight, and it was a way just to stay active, but I got hooked straight away. It was hard at first because I started training super hard straight away and I haven’t looked back since.”

With women’s boxing currently riding a boom period, especially in the UK, the trend is seemingly continuing elsewhere in the world. Sandstrom told FightPost the scene is growing in Australia as well:

“Women’s boxing is growing in Australia at the moment. At every show more and more girls are turning professional, and I think as a sport women’s boxing is growing all over the world.”

The air miles are still increasing despite settling in Australia. Sandstrom was 25 when she first walked into that Australian boxing gym, and now at 29 is keen to gain as much experience as possible and emulate her previous success elsewhere in the sporting world. Trips to America and the Philippines have been valuable in the quest for knowledge in her still new sport, especially in the tough environment of the Philippines:

“I’ve been to the Philippines twice on my own, it’s super tough. When I go there I go for two weeks and we spar 6 rounds every morning and then we train two hours straight and then two more hours in the afternoon. Their mentality is completely different to ours, they box to survive. It makes you tougher for sure going over there.”

Despite a relatively short time on the exhibitions/amateur circuit, just 25 fights in total, Sandstrom made the decision to turn professional and had her first fight in 2020 losing a points decision against Jessica Cashman on the big Jeff Horn/Tim Tszyu bill. It was a bittersweet night, the fight got a lot of publicity and Sandstrom has admitted the occasion got to her and if badly affected her performance: 

“For me it was just a crazy experience. Not many people get to make their professional debut on a show like that, it was just nuts. The exposure around me as a female fighter was just crazy. Some people wanted to see me lose but everyone was talking about my fight. I’ve never switched off before and lost focus but that’s what happened in there. Obviously, for my second fight I had a mindset coach and I redeemed myself.”

When I asked Sandstrom why her pro debut got so much interest she seemed a little bewildered herself:

“I honestly have no idea why so many people were talking about my fight. Even for my second fight, there was media in the UK, Ireland, Botswana, Sweden wanting to talk to me and write articles about me. Maybe my journey is inspiring I have a lot of followers from all over the world. When I started my Instagram all I basically wanted to do was document my story and my journey.”

With the help of a new UK mindset coach, Sandstrom regrouped and set out, not for the first time in her life, to prove her critics wrong. After she was told she wouldn’t make it in table tennis because she came to the sport late in life, the messages were similar in her new sport. The 29-year-old wasn’t in any mood for giving up after her setback last year. With a point to prove Sandstrom beat Felicity Loiterton on points to record her maiden professional victory: 

“It was so different. For the second fight, I was present. In the first fight, it was like someone had taken my soul and removed it in the ring. But in the second fight, I made sure I was completely focussed, there was a massive difference.”

Sandstrom isn’t resting on her laurels, Loiterton is seeking a rematch, but while Sandstrom is open to facing her again, she has more immediate plans. On July 7th, Sandstrom will fight the New Zealander Teagan Wallace for the vacant Australasian super-flyweight title, again on a Tim Tszyu undercard:

“I feel good, super excited and super pumped. I’ve been training hard for about 8 weeks now. It will be unbelievable and I am just happy to be part of it all. We have been working a lot on my strength because we think the girl will be really strong, she’s an ex-rugby player and is coming down in weight, and we have been doing a lot of tough sparring as well.”

Despite her boxing career still being in its infancy, Sandstrom is dreaming big and is aiming for the very top in boxing:

“My main goal is to one day become a world champion. I am in this sport full time and I am giving this sport everything I have. I just want to give it my best shot and I feel I have good people around me to allow me to make my dreams come true.”

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