Elin Cederroos aims to steal the show in her Ring title bout against Franchon Crews-Dezurn
A lot of time has passed since Sweden’s Elin Cederroos learned that she was going to fight for The Ring’s inaugural super middleweight title in the US. First, it was going to happen during the Kambosos-Lopez undercard, which was postponed a dozen times. Then it was moved to 2022, and then it was postponed again.
The wait, however, was worthwhile for everyone involved, since now Cederroos (8-0, 4KOs) will be fighting in one of the co-main events of the biggest fight in women’s boxing history on April 30.
“It feels great to fight at such a big arena as Madison Square Garden and that Matchroom decided to go for this weight class,” said Cederroos during a phone conversation, in reference to her imminent undisputed 168-pounds championship fight against The Ring’s No. 2-rated and WBC/WBO titlist Franchon Crews-Dezurn in the Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano undercard. “I want to be part of the movement that is taking place within the female boxing scene right now, and to be able to make my mark on this historical event is a big thing.
“To be on the same fight card as Taylor and Serrano also feels really good. Of course, it has been a long journey up to this moment, and it’s frustrating that the fight has been postponed several times, but it really hasn’t had any impact on my focus. My goal is to win all four belts and that has been my focus all along. It has definitely been worth the wait.”
Cederroos is a former soccer player who is the current WBA and IBF female super middleweight champion, a division where she is also rated No. 1 by The Ring. If she wins, she will not only lift the inaugural version of the mythical Ring championship belt in the 168-pound division, but she will also be joining Claressa Shields (160 and 154), Jessica McCaskill (147) and Katie Taylor (135) as inaugural Ring champs and four-belt titlist.
The pressure will certainly be there, but Cederroos claims she’s just as ready as she was the first time the fight was announced.
“There is nothing that is different to me with this fight,” said the 37-year-old mother of two, who made her boxing debut after having her second child. “I will do my job and that is to box the best way possible. I am in better shape than ever and I am looking forward to show all the fans what I have achieved with all my hard work.
“This is what I do, I box. I have maintained my focus and have trained really hard as I always do. I have done my job both physically and mentally and I am here to defend my belts. To be honest I’ve been ready for a long time now, I will always be ready to defend my belts.”
The pressure of being under the spotlight in women’s boxing’s most important night in history surely weighs down on both Cederroos and Crews-Dezurn more than they will probably admit. But there is also the added pressure of knowing that the winner will likely be challenged by women’s boxing’s all-time hungriest belt-eating predator.
Cederros claims to be ready for that as well.
“I am looking forward to their fight,” said Cederroos, about the long-awaited middleweight grudge match between Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and Savannah Marshall, with the winner probably being tempted to move up a few pounds to dispute what could be, in the case of Shields, an unprecedented third undisputed Ring and four-belt championship in three different divisions.
“Marshall and Shields represent female boxing at an absolute top level and to watch them will be awesome. However, my main focus is on my own fight against Franchon Crews-Dezurn. I fight in super middleweight and whoever is up for the task to be my opponent should step up and fight me. It doesn’t matter who is in front of me in the ring, I will always be ready to fight and defend my titles. Bring it on!”
Not confusing a dream with a post-dated check is probably a good idea for Cederroos, who will be fighting as a visitor against an American fighter who has already tasted the power of some of the best in the bizz (including Shields) and knows her way around the ring quite well. But she expects a tough fight in what is effectively women’s boxing’s heaviest competitive division (The Ring does not rate fighters above 168 pounds due to the lack of active fighters in those weights at the moment), with power being the decisive factor in a war of attrition.
“You will see fierce punches, fast feet and insane focus and I can only hope that Franchon Crews-Dezurn is well prepared and ready to take me on,” said Cederroos, when pressed for a prediction. “Of course, I’m on top of this and will be crowned the undefeated champion in the end. I am looking forward to that!”