Last year, the welterweight division in women’s professional boxing was turned upside down, as an 11-year reign over the weight class finally ended. In August, underdog Jessica McCaskill outpointed the undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, giving one of the greatest female fighters of all-time her first defeat. Now, seven months after the first meeting, the pair will run it back.
McCaskill (9-2, 3 KO), now the undisputed welterweight champion, will defend all four of the major world titles against Braekhus (36-1, 9 KO) on March 13. The bout will co-headline a stacked DAZN card at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, which will feature the rematch between super flyweights Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez as the main event.
Although she had only 10 fights on her record before challenging Braekhus in 2020, McCaskill accomplished a considerable amount up to that point. After losing a decision to pound-for-pound talent Katie Taylor in a lightweight title fight in 2017, McCaskill moved up to junior welterweight and won the WBC title, winning a decision over Erica Farias in her next fight. She then went on to win the WBA title from Anahi Ester Sanchez via decision in 2019, making her a unified champion with two belts. McCaskill defended the titles against Farias in a rematch before moving up to challenge Braekhus the following year.
Also known as “The First Lady”, Braekhus won two major welterweight titles in 2009, and then collected the two other belts over the course of five years to unify the division. She then went on to make 10 successful defences of the undisputed championship, before coming up short against McCaskill the first time around. The First Lady is a fitting name for Braekhus since she has been a trailblazer for women’s boxing in many ways: from accomplishing the longest title reign in women’s boxing history, to being featured in the first women’s boxing match to be aired on HBO.
The first meeting between McCaskill and Braekhus was a close call, and many observers felt that Braekhus could have won the fight herself. During the first half of the bout, McCaskill was pushing the pace and fighting aggressively like she usually does. But then in the second half, she began to tire a bit, and Braekhus’ skill and experience advantage became more evident. However, the judges—except for the one who called it a draw—favoured the more aggressive combatant.
On March 13, McCaskill will be presented with the opportunity to earn a more convincing win over Braekhus and further cement her status as the best welterweight in the world. Braekhus, who had been considering retirement prior to the first fight, will have a chance to right that wrong, regain the championship, and perhaps end her career with the distinction of having beaten every fighter she’s stepped in the ring with.
Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):
Cecilia Braekhus - WIN by MD (97-93, 97-94, 95-95) - 15/08/2020
Erica Farias - WIN by MD (97-91, 96-92, 94-94) - 12/10/2019
Anahi Ester Sanchez - WIN by UD (99-91, 98-92, 96-94) - 25/05/2019
Erica Farias - WIN by UD (98-92, 97-93, 96-94) - 06/10/2018
Katie Taylor- LOSS by UD (98-91, 97-92, 97-92) - 13/12/2017
Jessica McCaskill - LOSS by MD (97-93, 97-94, 94-94) - 15/08/2020
Victoria Bustos - WIN by UD (99-91, 98-92, 98-92) - 30/11/2019
Aleksandra Madziak Lopes - WIN by UD (100-90, 99-91, 99-91) - 08/12/2018
Inna Sagaydakovskaya - WIN by UD (98-92, 98-92, 97-93) - 21/07/2018
Kali Reis - WIN by UD (97-92, 96-93, 96-93) - 05/05/2018