Quick Bit: Could this be Cecilia Braekhus’ last shot at gold? “The First Lady” is ready to return to the top of the mountain against a game Terri Harper.
On top of the boxing world for several years, former undisputed welterweight champ Cecilia Braekhus is a trailblazer. “The First Lady” of boxing had to fight to forge her own path in the sport and her subsequent success makes her a surefire Hall of Famer.
Braekhus, now 42, challenges Terri Harper for the WBA super welterweight title on October 7 at the Utilita Arena Sheffield in Sheffield, England. The vacant WBO title will also be on the line in what is the co-main event to Leigh Wood vs. Josh Warrington.
A silver medalist in the 2005 World Championships, Braekhus turned pro in 2007. The Norwegian star won the vacant WBA and WBC welterweight titles in 2009 by defeating Vinni Skovgaard. Braekhus then won the WBA title in 2010 by thrashing Victoria Cisneros, and the IBF title from Ivana Habazin in 2014. She competed in 25 straight successful title defenses, tying with legendary heavyweight champ Joe Louis.
For over 13 years, Braekhus beat every opponent put in front of her. She started out at a time when women’s boxing didn’t get proper coverage and is regarded as a pioneer for the sport. Braekhus also managed to fight in the final HBO Boxing show, which is a fun Jeopardy-like trivia topic.
Now, thanks to fights like Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano, Claressa Shields vs. Savannah Marshall, Alycia Baumgardner vs. Mikaela Mayer, and Taylor vs. Chantelle Cameron, Braekhus believes boxing is in a better spot than when she started.
“When I started out in boxing, I couldn’t even see somewhere out there what we are doing right now. It was hard to fathom at that time when I was starting out,” Braekhus told Sky Sports.
“Remember, we weren’t allowed to join the Olympics. The Olympics was only for men. It was a whole different world. It was rough. One of the toughest things was being told every day you’re less worthy as women. That was the thing that definitely did not sit right with me at all. It didn’t matter how many people told me I was less worthy, I would never listen to them.
“I’m so happy that the next generation don’t have to be in that position. Where we are today, for us who started out at that time, you just have to wake up sometimes. Just realize how far we came. We do have more to work on, but we’re definitely on our way.”
Braekhus’ streak ended in 2020 when she lost the status of undisputed welterweight champion to Jessica McCaskill in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She also lost the rematch in 2021 but bounced back with a tuneup win over Marisa Joana Portillo in December. That was her first fight in 21 months.
The Harper bout was supposed to take place on the Taylor-Cameron card in May, but Braekhus backed out due to illness. That means it has been 10 months since her last appearance.
Per Bet MGM, Terri Harper is the -650 favorite, while Cecilia Braekhus is the +450 underdog. If she can beat a game Harper, who routed Hannah Rankin for the WBA belt, Braekhus will focus on Natasha Jonas, who is the IBF, WBO, and Ring super welterweight champion.
Braekhus has experienced big moments in boxing before, but this may be the most significant fight of her career. Old school is cool, and the veteran is not giving up yet. A new chapter potentially starts for Braekhus, one that could further cement her legacy.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More