Cecilia Brækhus Seeks Redemption in rematch with Jessica McCaskill


Saturday night from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, Cecilia Brækhus (36-1, 9 KOs) will look to re-capture the WBA, WBC, WBO, and IBF women’s welterweight titles in a rematch with Chicago native and undisputed champion Jessica McCaskill (9-2, 3 KOs). Last August on the streets of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma Braekhus lost a tough majority decision to McCaskill. Braekhus not only had to deal with the first loss of her illustrious 13 year professional career, but the loss of her four world titles as well. Titles Braekhus had held from 2014 to 2020 in her reign as the first ever undisputed female world champion. Had Braekhus defeated McCaskill that night she would’ve broken Joe Louis’s 72-year-old record for having defended her titles 26 times. 

The original fight between Braekhus and McCaskill was scheduled for April of 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic that bout was postponed until August leaving Braekhus and her future camp in limbo. “I thought I had experienced everything throughout my career, but this was something completely new. We started training, and suddenly all this pandemic happens.” Stated Braekhus who trains under the tutelage of Abel Sanchez in Big Bear. After the original fight with McCaskill was postponed, Braekhus couldn’t return home due to travel restrictions. When things finally began to open up, she couldn’t risk going back to Norway because she may not have been able to return to the United States. Braekhus was thousands of miles from home without her family and waiting on a date to defend her titles. 

Cecilia Braekhus
The Pre-Wrap: Cecilia Braekhus/ Photo: Lina Baker

The clock ticked until August 15th 2020 the night McCaskill shocked the world stealing the glory from the undisputed champion Braekhus that clearly wasn’t her usual self.  “I was training off and on for six months; three training camps, and when it came to the fight I was like an empty battery.” Stated Braekhus in an interview with Ring Magazine. “ My legs weren’t there, and when I spoke to my team and explained my symptoms, they said that this was perfectly normal given the circumstances. I’d just trained and trained and trained and never had time to relax.”

Now Braekhus “The First Lady of Boxing,” will look not only for redemption, but reclamation of being the “Undisputed” world champion of the welterweight division. “I felt I won the first fight, it was very close, I could have got the decision,” said Brækhus during a recent press conference. “A lot of people thought I won and it’s not the way to lose your belts. I know I am a better fighter than Jessica, I had a bit of an off day, but I feel I did what I needed to do to retain my belts, but I was not at home. I was on her home turf and she got the belts.” 

Living in Chicago during the 1980’s was tough. The city was written off as unlivable, undesirable, and ungovernable. It was dirty, unsightly, and covered in graffiti. Something McCaskill knew about first hand, she was homeless as a child growing up in the Chicago streets. Incredibly however, McCaskill used that life experience to give her the mental fortitude as a fighter to help her in her day job as an investment banker and in the ring to become the undisputed  welterweight world champion. After her victory over Brækhus last August McCaskill stated “I’ve had a lot of different points in my life where I was up and down, in and out. I had very humble beginnings. We were homeless, we had struggles. It made me grow up very fast as a kid to work through these things. There were a lot of times when we went without. I’ve had Christmases where I didn’t get any presents and I just had to keep my chin up. I had to grow up. So beating Braekhus I gave myself a present.”

Jessica McCaskil
Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Now going into the rematch McCaskill who knows a thing or two about mental toughness is confident she’ll once again come away victorious. “I feel the last fight was the last one of her career,” McCaskill said during the press conference. “Once someone shows that weakness, shows they are not in it and alludes to retirement, that shows that they are mentally out of the game. McCaskill went on to say “Shame on your team for not preparing you mentally for defeat and shame on you for pretending to be the victim. We’ve never been given a whole lot, we’ve taken really big risks and they have gotten us to those higher places, I haven’t been given anything, I don’t want to take on anyone else’s legacy, I’m building my own and making history every step of the day and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

Braekhus fired back stating “I still feel I won, or could have got a draw, and when I thought about that, I knew I could beat her in a rematch. I didn’t want to go out with a career-worst performance either, I definitely owe that to my fans. If this was a fight where I lost to a better fighter, had been in my best shape and had given it my all, then fine, I could retire, but that was not the case here. She gave her everything in the ring and I gave her props for that, I knew what I was going through and what I was struggling with, but now we’ll meet again under different circumstances.”

Jessica McCaskill will Rematch Cecilia Brækhus this Saturday night in Dallas on a world championship triple header live on DAZN. In the main event Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada (41-3 28 KOs) and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (50-2 41 KOs) will finally meet in a rematch eight years in the making, this time in a unification  bout for the WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine World Super-Flyweight titles. Also on the card Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0 9 KOs) looks to defend his WBA and Ring Magazine World Light-Flyweight titles against Axel Vega (14-3-1 8 KOs).

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