Chicago native Jessica McCaskill kept her word on retiring women’s boxing’s ‘First Lady’ Cecilia Braekhus, retaining her undisputed Welterweight champion over 10 one-sided rounds
DALLAS, Texas (March 13, 2021) — Following their first meeting in Tulsa, Okla. in August, Welterweight undisputed champion and dethroned Cecilia Braekhus became embroiled in an intriguing rivalry. Fallout was to be expected by women’s boxing’s “First Lady.” She lost her first bout since starting her career in January 2007. At 39-years old the Columbian-born Norwegian’s plans likely consisted of a career-sealing title defense on her way into retirement. Maybe a victory would have caused her to consider a marquee bout versus undisputed Super Lightweight champion Katie Taylor.
Instead, then unified Lightweight champion McCaskill thwarted the whole storybook ending for Braekhus. After losing her crown, Braekhus momentarily mulled retirement. The heart of a champion landed her back in the ring attempting to reclaim her titles in Dallas, Texas tonight at American Airlines Arena.
McCaskill regarded the rematch as DAZN’s biggest retirement party. The bout served as chief support for the Super Flyweight championship unification match-up between WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada and WBA champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez – a rematch that spent eight years in the making. The Matchroom Boxing promoted card streamed live on DAZN.
Braekhus fought a better fight than in their first meeting, but she gave away too many early rounds in the 10-rounder. To make matters worst, the former champion received a critical 1-point deduction late in the fight that derailed a comeback that looked like she still had a chance. Unfortunately, the penalty never became issue because all three of judges favored McCaskill’s aggressive attack and sided with the 36-year old Chicagoan by a wide margin.
Braekhus’ lack of footwork and jabbing failed to fend off McCaskill’s attack. The champion’s looping shots landed often over the first half of the fight. Braekhus rarely responded back with landing equally clean punches. And once the cards were announced the score totals revealed the once longtime reigning champion’s rallies only netted a couple of the late rounds.
Defending champion McCaskill (10-2, 3 KOs) opened the fight punching her way inside, but adding in multiple punches before completely closing the distance. She got the former champion’s attention late in the round with an overhand right. Braekhus (36-2, 9 KOs) ran straight into the punch and stepped away to recover.
The champion stormed forward behind punches from both hands. Braekhus tried to step back and counter, then drop big right hands over the top of the shorter McCaskill. The champion rocked Braekhus again with an overhand right in Round 2.
Braekhus’ hands were busier to open Round 3. She tried to box and move, attempting to thwart McCaskill’s pressure. Braekhus continued to be bullied by the shorter champion. Her jab remained absent, and she took punishment from the repeated outbursts.
Braekhus’ offense got in gear in the fourth frame. McCaskill continued to walk the 39-year old down, but she was countered a number of times. Braehkus landed a right uppercut and another shot to the body.
McCaskill’s aggression remained high in the next two rounds – the fifth and sixth. Her looping shots continued to land and represent the more effective punches. Braekhus landed a series of clean punches to close Round 6.
Braekhus appeared to be fully fighting her way back into the bout at the start of Round 7. Her execution of her game plan improved as McCaskill’s output decreased. The former champion’s rally suffered a major setback in the round when she was finally deducted a point by referee Rafael Ramos for pushing.
McCaskill stood center-ring in her shell defense early in Round 8. She exploded out of it with left hooks and overhand rights. Breakhus fought cautiously as the action moved inside. She seemed to want to avoid a second penalty.
Braekhus worked her jab in the first half of the eighth round. The contrast in styles was sharper, as Braekhus tried to box while McCaskill looked to brawl. The fight was probably slipping away from Braekhus who, at best, appeared to be evenly trading shots with the champion.
The former champion made a stand in the 10th and final round. However, Braekhus was unable to stand mid-range and punch in sets. They keep coming chest-to-chest and halting the action. McCaskill didn’t get a whole lot accomplished in the final frame, but she did enough to keep the fight close.
McCaskill’s aggression and brawling style nearly resembled her performance back in August. Awaiting the score totals, the question became whether Braekhus’ work changed this set of judges’ scorecards. The Chicago native’s effort held up, the 36-year old retained her undisputed championship via wide totals of 100-89, 99-90, and 98-81.
All photos by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom