Saturday, September 30, 2023  |



Cecilia Braekhus scores rust-shaking decision over Marisa Portillo

Cecilia Braekhus displays the inaugural Ring Magazine women's pound-for-pound championship belt awarded to her in 2018.
Fighters Network

Former undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus got back in the win column with a six-round unanimous decision over Marisa Portillo on the Raul Curiel-Brad Solomon undercard on Saturday in Commerce, California.

The pedestrian junior middleweight bout was the first time the 41-year-old veteran had fought since losing her rematch with current welterweight champ Jessica McCaskill last March. Braekhus (37-2, 9 KOs), who won by shutout on all three scorecards (60-54), was not in tough. Portillo (19-16-3, 4 KOs), who ended a near-five-year period of inactivity in May, began her career at bantamweight (and even made 108 pounds for a title shot in 2013) and had never fought above lightweight until Saturday’s bout.

However, the 34-year-old Argentine was tough and busy enough for Braekhus to shake off 21 months worth of ring rust. Braekhus, who was the consensus pound-for-pound queen of women’s boxing for several years, looked a little slow in the early rounds but still controlled the pace and distance of the fight with an educated jab and was backing Portillo up with one-two combinations by the third round. By Round 5, the Colombia-born Norwegian was punching with more authority and adding body shots to her offense.

Now that Braekhus is active again and no longer considering retirement, the future hall of famer has set her sights on challenging the champions in the 154-pound division. The Ring champ, who also holds the WBC, IBF and WBO belts, is Natasha Jonas; the WBA titleholder is Teri Harper.

A showdown between Braekhus and either British standout would do big business in England.