Image Credit: Matchroom Boxing
Popular fantasy series, The Game of Thrones, dubbed Sansa Stark, the Queen of the North as the maven presiding over the mythical Winterfell.
In real life, boxing veteran champion, Cecilia Brækhus is the closest to Sansa in reality and it didn’t come from a family lineage of royalty, it came from the squared circle.
In Saturday’s main event on DAZN, the 38-year-old Norwegian undisputed Welterweight champion puts her titles on the line against Jessica McCaskill on the streets of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma.
She is one of seven boxers in history to hold all four major world titles in a division simultaneously and on Saturday, she looks to surpass Joe Louis’ 72-year record for 25 consecutive world title defenses.
So how come you only know Laila Ali and Claressa Shields when discussing the Greatest Woman of All Time in the sport?
Well if you are a casual fan, its because you didn’t do your math before entering boxing’s 36 chambers.
“There is so much talent in women’s boxing it is ridiculous,” Brækhus said to DAZN News. “We are entertaining. And coming from a place where women’s boxing just wasn’t in a very good place. I’m seeing everything happening for us now and it is pretty awesome.”
The Norwegian star has been lacing them up as a pro for over 13 years.
It follows a successful amateur career that practically dwarfs her Chicago rival, who has achieved much in just under five years as a pro.
However, Brækhus believes that experience will be key to adapt to the unique conditions of boxing around the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and I know the drill; it’s not the first time a fight has been canceled for me,” said Brækhus. “Of course, these are some extraordinary circumstances, but as soon as the fight was off, we wound down a little bit and had some time off before slowly starting back up again. I think we’ve done the right thing, we haven’t over-trained, but we’ve stayed in shape.
“I will get win 37 in Tulsa. Being in Big Bear for so many months has given me another life in boxing, before I have been in meetings, on the phone, flying back and forth, LA-Norway, Norway-LA, but I’ve been just completely focused on my boxing and I am in the best shape, I cannot remember the last time I was in such great shape and I cannot wait for Saturday.”
Brækhus-McCaskill tops the bill this weekend in a sport where champions like Claressa Shields and Laila Ali pushed women’s boxing to the forefront much like Ronda Rousey did for mixed martial arts.
“It’s a huge fight. The setting, being the main fight, a tough opponent in Jessica who we all know from her fights with Erica Farias and Katie Taylor; I think we’re opening boxing for Matchroom with a bang in America.
“It’s great and we deserve it, and Taylor-Persoon the next weekend — is pushing women’s boxing forward. You see so many talented women coming up and they see what they can do in this sport, what they can achieve and what is up there for them to capture.”
A professional for over 13 years, Brækhus has collected world titles and has never heard a scorecard read against her.
While Claressa Shields is the loudest voice in the room of dominants, Brækhus has persevered through the dark ages of women’s boxing, holding her status as yet another contender for the title of GWOAT.
Now, she hopes it’s time for the world to see what the hype has been about.
“The best fighters will adapt to the new conditions. When I go into the ring I just focus on my opponent and nothing else, so it will be different but I have experienced a lot of weird stuff in my career, it’s been many years now and I honestly think that I have experienced everything so I don’t think no crowd being there will be an issue at all. I am there to do a job and that’s where my focus is.”