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Tom Loeffler: To break Joe Louis’ record would be a huge accomplishment for Cecilia Braekhus

Photo by Mark Robinson.
01
Aug

Cecilia Braekhus has reigned as the undisputed female welterweight champion for the last six years.

She plans to extend her reign when she takes on Jessica McCaskill on Matchroom Boxing’s August 15 card from the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on a DAZN-streamed card.

The Ring spoke exclusively with Braekhus’ adviser, Tom Loeffler, in recent days, who expects fireworks.

“This is a tremendous event for women’s boxing,” stated Loeffler, Braekhus’ adviser, of K2 Promotions. “Cecilia has accomplished so much in her career.”

Braekhus (36-0, 9 knockouts), 38, a Colombia native based in Norway, has boxed professionally for 13 years and has spent 85 percent of her career as a champion, but never has she headlined such a significant card.

Braekhus-McCaskill was elevated to take the place of the WBC flyweight championship fight between Julio Cesar Martinez and McWilliams Arroyo, which was postponed after the hard-hitting Martinez came down with a non-COVID-19 related illness.

This is just the latest female fight to get promoted to main event status. On July 15, unbeaten junior lightweight Mikaela Mayer made easy work of Helen Joseph as she won a unanimous decision in Las Vegas. It marked the first time a women’s fight had been the main event for a Top Rank card on ESPN.

Loeffler is confident that Braekhus’ appearance will be a tremendous boost to women’s boxing, but she is facing a tough opponent in McCaskill, who is moving up in weight after unifying two belts at 140 pounds.

“She broke the glass ceiling with HBO after 45 years of no female boxing at all,” he stated. “She headlined her own HBO event and is now headlining DAZN, I think it’s huge, but it’s no easy task fighting McCaskill.

“This is going to be a huge step forward for women’s boxing. McCaskill is a (junior welterweight) champion, and Cecilia is the undisputed champion at 147 pounds.”

But McCaskill (8-2, 3 KOs), 35, of Chicago, who is known as “CasKILLA” has predicted a knockout victory and the abrupt end to the Braekhus dynasty.

“I’m expecting to knock out Cecilia,” she told reporters. “I don’t know what round, but this extra time we’ve got to train (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) before the fight is going to make (me) sharper and a lot stronger and smarter overall.”

Braekhus, though, is knocking on the door of history. A win would mark her 26th consecutive title defense, surpassing all-time great heavyweight Joe Louis’ mark for most successful title defenses.

“Being able to break Joe Louis’ record would be a huge accomplishment for Cecilia,” Loeffler continued. “That’s one of the things that we’re really looking forward to in this event.

“If Cecilia is successful, she will make history and have done what no other athlete in the sport of boxing has been able to do, and that would be a great accomplishment against a champion like Jessica McCaskill.”

Some boxing purists will note that Braekhus became undisputed champion in 2014, or may question the depth of competition in female boxing over the years. From Louis’ title triumph in 1937 through 25 consecutive defenses, he defeated five International Boxing Hall of Famers over the course of 11 years. Those individuals include James Braddock, Max Schmeling, John Henry Lewis, Billy Conn (twice) and Jersey Joe Walcott (twice).

 

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