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Sport 'The First Lady' of boxing is a win away from breaking one of the sport's 'unbreakable records' — which has stood for 70 years

19:55  12 august  2020
19:55  12 august  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Cecilia Braekhus. Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images © Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images Cecilia Braekhus. Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images
  • Cecilia Braekhus is just days away from participating in her 26th consecutive title fight.
  • "The First Lady" of women's boxing shares the record of consecutive world title defenses in the same division at 25, alongside the all-time heavyweight great Joe Louis, who lost his 26th title fight in 1950.
  • 70 years later, Braekhus can write history should she defeat Jessica McCaskill on the Oklahoma streets in an open-air ring positioned between Tulsa skyscrapers in the downtown region of the city.
  • Victory tees up a fight against the unbeaten Irishwoman and former Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor, which Braekhus told Insider would "unquestionably be the biggest female fight ever."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Cecilia Braekhus, "The First Lady" of women's boxing, is just four days and one win away from breaking one of the sport's most "unbreakable records" — which has stood for 70 years.

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A wildly-decorated fighter, Braekhus first won world titles in her 11th fight, a decision win over Vinni Skovgaard in 2009, and has since defended those titles and added more championship belts in 25 defenses.

She shares the record for most consecutive title defenses in the same division, a boxing record first set when the male fighter Joe Louis — the second greatest heavyweight ever after Muhammad Ali, according to The Ring magazine — kept ahold of the heavyweight championship for a 13-year stretch from 1937.

Louis lost the heavyweight title to Ezzard Charles in 1950 after good wins over Max Schmeling, Billy Conn, and Jersey Joe Walcott.

His run at the top has retrospectively been called one of the sport's "unbreakable records," by Boxing Scene.

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But now, 70 years later, Braekhus has the chance to surpass Louis' record and standalone with 26 consecutive title defenses in the same weight class when she fights Jessica McCaskill on the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Braekus will compete at an open-air venue in city's downtown area, promoted by Matchroom Boxing USA and broadcast on DAZN.

At first, Braekhus didn't want to think too much about the record. But now it's here, she has zoned into it.

"I heard about it two or three fights ago but I haven't been thinking too much on that, not to jinx it or anything," she told Insider while in quarantine, as she waited on the results from her coronavirus tests.

"But this is the last one so there's a little bit more thinking about that in this fight. It would definitely be a big deal, so I think for me, the whole team, this would be something very, very special."

At 36 years old and with a pro record of 36 wins (nine knockouts), undefeated, Braekhus has big wins of her own against France's big-puncher Anne Sophie Mathis, the multi-sport fighter Mia St. John, and the former two-weight boxing champion Erica Anabella Farias.

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But despite all that experience, Braekhus has never fought in a venue like the one on Saturday, and is yet to compete during the pandemic.

"It's a little bit … everything is upside down," she told us of the upheaval. "Coming to the hotel at Tulsa, Oklahoma, the first thing I saw was people, staff, head-to-toe in protective gear, [face] shields, everything.

"Going to the room, quarantine, I can't see my team and I can't train with any of my team [between] testing [and the results].

"It's a little bit like a sci-fi movie to walk around here. It's very special, surreal, but preparation is key. I brought all the food I needed with me, just in case. I'm mentally prepared and right now I feel pretty good, relaxing, watching Criminal Minds … it's crime, gruesome, bloody."

Braekhus and McCaskill headline Saturday's street-fight special

As Braekhus had not left quarantine when she spoke to Insider, she was yet to walk down the streets below and see the ring in which she'd attempt a history-breaking 26th successful world title defense.

a store inside of a building: What Matchroom's street-fighting boxing ring on the Tulsa streets could look like. Photo by DAZN / Matchroom Boxing © Photo by DAZN / Matchroom Boxing What Matchroom's street-fighting boxing ring on the Tulsa streets could look like. Photo by DAZN / Matchroom Boxing

"I haven't seen the ring yet. We were shuffled into our room straight into quarantine. It's outside. There's concrete, and there's skyscrapers.

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"It's … this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," she said.

"I've watched McCaskill's fights. When she fought Katie Taylor, Erica Farias. But we try to focus on what my tasks are.

"We have been working on things I'm good at, the best at. Footwork, I'm in front of her. She's strong, physical, so we've been working on [nullifying] that.

Her coach, Abel Sanchez, has been "working his magic," she added, saying she has "done a bit of adjustment that he thinks was needed."

"I feel great, have been in camp for many months. I'm in my best shape and I know Jessica is in her best shape. There's going to be fireworks."

Victory tees up 'the biggest female fight ever,' Braekhus said

Braekhus wants to keep winning not only to break Louis' record, but to tee-up a lucrative champion vs. champion match against the 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning Irishwoman Katie Taylor.

Katie Taylor et al. posing for the camera: Katie Taylor and Jessica McCaskill. Photos by Dylan Buell / Stephen McCarthy / Getty Images © Photos by Dylan Buell / Stephen McCarthy / Getty Images Katie Taylor and Jessica McCaskill. Photos by Dylan Buell / Stephen McCarthy / Getty Images

Like Braekhus, Taylor is one of only nine boxers in men's and women's sport to win all four of the major championships from the big-name sanctioning bodies in boxing — the WBA, WBC, WBO, and the IBF.

The match would pit the consensus best welterweight in the women's game against the best lightweight.

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"A fight like that would unquestionably be the biggest female fight ever," Braekhus said, adding there is still things to do, wins to be had, before it can be put together.

"I have to get past Macaskill. And [Taylor] doesn't have an easy task either, she has to get past [Delfine] Persoon." That fight will take place during the fourth week of Eddie Hearn's Fight Camp]."

Though Braekhus told Insider fans will have to "wait and see" before a big fight announcement is made, she did say she thinks Taylor will be better prepared in the rematch, after narrowly and somewhat controversially defeating Persoon the first time round, last year.

"A rematch was needed," Braekhus said. "I think Katie Taylor was a little bit surprised by Persoon's power and will be a bit better prepared this time."

As for this weekend, Braekhus promised her 26th consecutive title fight on the streets of Oklahoma would be one thing — "spectacular."

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