While she didn’t make history this weekend, Cecilia Braekhus’ legacy within the sport can never be forgotten. If she was to leave boxing, it appears she left it with a bang.
On the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Matchroom Boxing produced a main event that looked like a changing of the guard moment. Jessica McCaskill beat Braekhus via majority decision to win the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring Welterweight Titles. It ended a title defense streak (25) that was one away from breaking Joe Louis’ record. A tired Braekhus had nothing but praise for McCaskill, while also teasing her future in boxing.
“Jessica just threw ore punches than me, and she really wanted it,” Braekhus stated after the fight. “I am not going to say any more, I just want to congratulate her and hope she takes good care of these belts. I spent a lifetime collecting these belts, I hope she takes care of them and I know that she will.”
Braekhus (36-1) made her professional debut in 2007. She won gold in her eleventh pro fight, the WBA and WBC Welterweight Titles. “The First Lady” won WBO gold three fights later against Victoria Cisneros, and added the IBF Title against Ivana Habazin. She would add the IBO title to her collecting in 2016 against Chris Namus.
Braekhus tied Louis’ record back in November by beating Victoria Bustos. She is one of seven boxers to hold all four major titles at the same time and is a true trailblazer for the division.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, both fighters were supposed to face off. Given months to train, they continued the momentum of recent female fights on Matchroom programming. Put on the main event spot after Julio Cesar Martinez had to back out of his fight with McWilliams Arroyo due to non-COVID-19-related symptoms, both women put on a show.
If that is how she will be going out, Braekhus is proud of her time in the ring. Nothing is certain, however.
“I don’t know what will happen right now,” Braekhus went on to say. “I’m so proud to be a part of women’s boxing right now. If this is my last fight, I can leave boxing saying that I was a part of this. I took part in women’s boxing at this level. That will be my biggest achievement… Women’s boxing is just in an amazing place right now, they will be just fine without me.”