Cecilia Brækhus defends title
Norwegian boxer beats Swedish Mikaela Laurén in 32nd victory
Jo Christian Weldingh
Cecilia Brækhus defended all her World Championship title belts after beating Mikaela Laurén from Sweden on a technical knockout in the sixth round on October 21, for the second time in her career. The fight was a rematch from their clash almost seven years ago, when Braekhus stopped Laurén in seven rounds.
Brækus had promised a knockout win before the match started and kept her word when sending Laurén in the canvas in the sixth round. “I promised a knockout and I keep my promises,” she said in the post-match interview, making the three thousand spectators laugh and cheer even louder. The arena in Sandefjord was only about half full, but the atmosphere was great before, during, and after the match.
In the days and weeks prior to the fight, there was a full-on war between Laurén and Brækhus, a war that culminated with Laurén describing Brækhus as “a terrible human being.” After the fight, however, a more humble Laurén met the press: “I’m both incredibly disappointed and grateful at the same time. I got to fight the best boxer in the world, who’s undefeated, but I didn’t grasp the opportunity when I had the chance.” She continued to praise her opponent. “Cecilia is so explosive and technically good. If she gets the upper hand in a match, she never lets it go. I’m proud of what I did here today, but the fact that I got knocked out really bothers me,” she added.
The undefeated Brækhus was a clear favorite to defend her title belts in her 32nd professional fight. The Swedish press tried to drum up some excitement by saying it would be an even fight and that anything could happen, but this was not a night for a major upset.
Brækhus started out aggressively, but Laurén’s long reach made the two first rounds quite even. “I suspected this would be a close fight, and I was right,” commentator Thomas Hansvoll said when Laurén got a couple of good punches in during the second round.
Brækhus dominated the third and fourth rounds and got Laurén out of balance a couple of times. She clearly looked shaken but was able to fight herself back into the match even though Brækhus won both rounds.
Laurén continued to fight heroically, but as the rounds went on it was obvious that Brækhus was a much stronger fighter. Brækhus continued to bruise and batter Laurén before ending matters with a right cross in the sixth round, sending Laurén to the canvas. Laurén got back on her feet, but the referee deemed it a technical knockout only seconds later. “I knew she was almost done,” Brækhus said when watching the final seconds on tape after the match. “I was shocked when she was able to get up after that hit. It was one of the best hits of my career, if not the best.”
After Brækhus’s 32 victories, it has become a challenge finding opponents. When asked about her future, she hints about a potential fight against MMA fighter Cris Cyborg. In other words, it would be a female version of McGregor vs. Mayweather. This isn’t the first time she has hinted about a fight against Cyborg either. Earlier this year, after beating Anne Sophie Mathis, she was asked about a potential fight against Cyborg. “It excites me,” Brækhus said. “She knocks out all her opponents. She is raw and brutal. We are talking about a mega fight.”
Cecilia Brækhus is a Norwegian professional boxer and former kickboxer. In boxing she has reigned as the undisputed female welterweight champion since 2014 and is the first woman in any weight class to hold the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titles simultaneously. Additionally she is one of only four boxers in history, female or male, to hold all four titles simultaneously.
Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, but is currently living in Oslo. He has a BA in Archaeology from The University of Oslo and a BA in Business Administration from BI Norwegian Business School.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 17, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.