When Matchroom Boxing makes its return to the United States in August, the promotion will feature several big matchups. One bout, however, features a trailblazer looking to make history.
Cecilia Braekhus, the undisputed welterweight champion, is set to face off against Jessica McCaskill on August 15 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If “The First Lady” can retain her WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring Welterweight Titles, she will set a mark that hasn’t been broken in over 72 years. A win will be the Norwegian’s 26th consecutive title defense, shattering the great Joe Louis’ record set in the 1940s.
Braekhus (36-0) made her professional debut in 2007. She won her first set of titles, the WBA and WBC Welterweight Titles, against Vinni Skovgaard in 2009. The 38-year-old beat Victoria Cisneros for the WBO Welterweight Title in 2010, Ivana Habazin for the IBF Welterweight Title in 2014, and the IBO Welterweight Title in 2016 against Chris Namus.
Braekhus’ last fight was in November, beating Victoria Bustos via unanimous decision. By doing so, she tied Louis’ record. Speaking with Boxing Social, Braekhus discussed what breaking the record would mean to her.
“To be honest, I try not to think too much about it!” said Braekhus. “I try to work on things which are right here, right now. If that should happen, well then we’ll have to have a huge celebration. It would be making history. I can’t really explain what I would feel about it because it would just be on another level.”
Louis (66-3) became the lineal heavyweight champion in 1937, beating James J. Braddock via knockout. He also held The Ring Heavyweight Title during that time. Women’s boxing wasn’t as prominent then as it is today. Braekhus, the first boxer to hold five world titles from all sanctioning boxing organizations simultaneously, is happy about her place and impact in the sport.
“From when I started to now has been incredible for woman’s boxing,” said Braekhus during The Lockdown Tapes podcast. “We are on every show, headlining bills, fighting in the Olympics and it’s incredible and such a big difference from how it once was. Being a part of it makes me feel incredibly lucky and I feel when I retire, I will be able to say I have played my part.”
Braekhus recently hired trainer Abel Sanchez to lead her team to victory. She will face WBA and WBC Super-Lightweight Champion McCaskill (8-2), who is on a three-fight win streak. If she were to win, Braekhus would look to expand her record in a true battle against the undisputed lightweight champion and WBO Junior-Welterweight Champion Katie Taylor.
Taylor and Amanda Serrano have been looking to fight one another, and the winner may face Braekhus to determine the pound-for-pound best fighter. Expanding her record while fighting the best boxing has to offer is something Braekhus can get behind.
“This tournament is going to be big not because it’s women boxers and not because it’s new but because it involves four absolutely brilliant fighters who are going to meet each other in a mini-tournament,” Braekhus went on to say. “It’s going to be great.”