Brækhus first woman to unify division
Norwegian boxing star Cecilia Brækhus now holds all four belts in the welterweight division
Norwegian American Weekly
Brækhus became the first female boxer to unify her weight division after defeating Croatian Ivana Habazin. The “First Lady,” as Brækhus is called, met the IBF Champion Habazin in Copenhagen on September 14.
The Norwegian star already held world champion titles in the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO); all she needed was to beat Habazin for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt.
With a 25-0 professional record going into the fight, Brækhus was determined that she would defeat Habazin and make history. According to the spectators, Brækhus had good reason to be confident—she consistently outperformed Habazin throughout the match. While Habazin began to look tired and hurt in the first few rounds, Brækhus continued to fight strongly. She eventually won with a shutout after 10 rounds. With this victory, she became the first woman to hold the four major titles simultaneously.
The arena was full of proud Norwegians who had traveled to Denmark to support the “First Lady.” Brækhus addressed her ecstatic fans after her victory: “I really have only one thing to say, and it comes right from the heart: Without you all, I’m nothing. Just as long as you all are aware of that.”
And there’s no doubt that Brækhus’ fans will continue to support her boxing career. She is now the first Norwegian and first woman to hold all major world championship titles, and only the third boxer ever. With her latest victory, Brækhus joined the ranks of unified American boxers Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor. Her impressive record now stands at 26 wins, zero losses, and seven knockouts.
“Cecilia is a phenomenal athlete. Not only will she go down in history as the first female unified champion, but it is our belief that she will be remembered as the greatest female boxer of all time,” comments promoter Nisse Sauerland.
Now that Brækhus has earned all four belts in the welterweight class, she is ready to move on to the next stage in her career. She is considering competing for the championship belts in the next class below. “I am really happy and completely empty. This is what I need to keep my career going—new goals to go after,” says Brækhus.
After a three-week break, Brækhus will be back at it, training for her next match. She is scheduled to fight American Tori Nelson in December. Nelson is currently ranked number three in the welterweight division behind Brækhus and South African Noni Tenge.
The French boxer Anne-Sophie Mathis, known as the “Knockout Machine” wants another shot at Brækhus after their match in 2012. “I’d like to meet her in my next match—if she dares,” says Mathis, who flew to Copenhagen to watch Brækhus. But Brækhus hasn’t made any promises with Mathis just yet.
“After the match against Nelson, we’ll see what happens. I’ll have many opportunities, and I can choose myself who I want to meet,” replies Brækhus, confident about the future of her career.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 26, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.