MMA great Cris Cyborg returns to boxing to face Kelsey Wickstrum on Jan. 19
One of the more accomplished female MMA fighters in history will return to the boxing ring in 2024.
Cris Cyborg will face Kelsey Wickstrum on January 19, promoter Matt McGovern told The Ring on Wednesday afternoon. The six-round junior middleweight bout will take place on a World Fighting Championships card that will take place at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.
Marc Raimondi of ESPN broke the story, but The Ring was made aware of the Cyborg-Wickstrum fight during the last week of October. McGovern asked The Ring to refrain from announcing the fight due to logistics that had to be finalized in order for the fight to be announced.
McGovern, who promotes club shows throughout the United States, is grateful to promote a card featuring a fighter with pedigree and celebrity as Cyborg.
“Our goal for the WFC in 2024 is to build marquee events,” McGovern told The Ring. “When I had the opportunity to promote arguably the biggest female fighter on the planet in Cris Cyborg, I jumped on it.
“Pechanga Resort Casino (in Temecula) is a phenomenal place to showcase her.”
The 38-year-old Cyborg, whose birthname is Cristiane Venancio Justino, was born in Brazil and currently lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cyborg made her professional boxing debut on December 10 of last year, defeating Gabrielle Holloway by decision over four one-sided rounds.
As a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, she is the current Bellator Women’s featherweight champion. In her last fight at Bellator 300, which took place at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego on October 7, Cyborg stopped Cat Zingano in the first round. The win over Zingano marked the fifth defense of her title.
Cyborg is the only fighter in MMA history to win a championship under four different promotional banners: UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, and Invicta.
Wickstrum (2-0, 1 KO), who resides in Redding, California, last fought on April 23, stopping Sudana Moore in the third round.
The 36-year-old made her pro debut in May 2021, defeating Stevie Jane Coleman by majority decision.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]