Image Credit: Matchroom
Jessica McCaskill is an undisputed women’s champion.
However, she’s not just any champion, she is the woman that dethroned women’s welterweight legend, Cecilia Brækhus.
McCaskill (9-2, 3 KOs) wrested the titles from Brækhus (36-1, 9 KOs) on the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma in August. It was the first career loss for the Norwegian, making McCaskill a two-weight world champion in the process.
The Chicago title holder joins two weight class undisputed champion and Flint, Michigan native, Claressa Shields as the women’s Midwest takeover expands during Women’s History Month.
McCaskill believes that the hunger has gone from her foe after Brækhus hinted at retirement in her post-fight interview. Although she did commit to the rematch days later.
Now McCaskill will attempt to repeat, hoping to blow the candles out on Brækhus‘ long career.
“This is the biggest retirement party DAZN has ever hosted – there’s probably going to be cake and juice afterwards,” said McCaskill. “This is going to be it. She’s the one that alluded to it after losing in Tulsa, she seemed super relieved after losing and I am just giving her what she wants.
McCaskill won all four major belts from Braekhus by disputed majority decision in August 2020. It ended her historic 11-year title reign.
Braekhus was attempting to make her 26th consecutive title defense, breaking the all-time record she shares with legendary heavyweight champion Joe Louis for the most defenses in a row, male or female.
“Once someone shows that weakness, shows they are not in it and talks retirement, that shows that they are mentally out of the game. We’ve never been given a whole lot; we’ve taken really big risks and they have gotten us to those higher places. I don’t want to take on anyone else’s legacy, I’m building my own and making history every step of the day and that’s what I want to continue to do.
“I think she’s been struggling since the loss; I don’t know what she is going to do on fight night because we’re coming. I have a b-side mentality, we’re grinding for this, we’re not getting any handouts for this, she’s going to have to fight tooth and nail for anything.”
With the world hyper focused on Claressa Shields’ in ring excellence, many still haven’t given McCaskill her credit or placed her atop boxing’s new championship throne.
“Jessica doesn’t get the credit she deserves,” said McCaskill’s promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing to Fight Freaks. “She took on (lightweight champion) Katie Taylor when she was vastly inexperienced and gave her one of her toughest fights. Came back to win the (WBC junior welterweight) world title in Chicago (in 2018) and she’s never turned down a challenge.
“She unified and beat Cecilia to become undisputed at 147 pounds. Jessica is a star, but Cecilia looks like she’s got the bit between her teeth and this is her last chance.”
McCaskill’s clash with Brækhus’ is part of a triple-header of world title fights featuring Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez’s rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
“I know I am a better fighter than Jessica in every possible way – I’m back for me,” said Brækhus. “I’ve done it all in boxing; first undisputed women’s champion, first Ring Magazine champion, sold out arenas, hit one million viewers, sold Pay-Per-Views – Saturday is just about taking the belts back because I am better.
“I’ve been in so many fights in my career and I knew that I did enough to win the first fight. I was a little bit naive. I didn’t consider that I was on her home turf, I won’t make that mistake again. Those belts are rightfully mine and I want to make a statement on Saturday, I’ll be completely different from the last fight, I’m in peak shape and I am happy.
“It’s fine to do some talking before the fight to promote it, but it’s not personal for me. She started talking about me and my team 24 hours after the last fight and I lost respect for her. You can’t be offended or take anything personally by someone you don’t respect. I feel calm and I am ready to get my belts back.”