Pro Boxing Returns – On December 17, 2014, by a vote of 54 to 48, the Norwegian Parliament lifted the nation’s ban on professional boxing. But the annulment of the 33-year ban came with a burdensome list of stipulations regarding such matters as drug testing. That has kept would-be promoters at bay — that and the fact that there are few professional boxers in Norway, reportedly only eight. But things are about to change. Promoters have reserved the date of Oct. 1 for a big boxing show at the Spektrum Arena in Oslo. The headliner will be Cecilia Braekhus. The extremely skilled and extremely photogenic Braekhus has never fought in Norway where she was raised by her adoptive parents but that hasn’t kept her from becoming arguably Norway’s most famous sports personality.
The undefeated (28-0), 34-year-old Braekhus, born in Columbia, has fought almost exclusively in Germany and Denmark. She likely owns more championship belts than any other boxer. When she enters the ring on October 1 against an opponent to be named, she will be risking her WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO World female welterweight titles.
Nicknamed the “First Lady” of boxing, Braekhus is responsible for the ban being lifted. It may have happened eventually, but it would not have happened so soon without her. Most of her recent fights were televised into Norway, an important development in “building her brand.” Many sympathized with her lament that she had been made to feel like a criminal in her home country. The penalty for defying the ban for a first-time offender was a three-month prison term. Her countrymen were also won over by her droll humor. With a wink she says that people are always telling her that she looks just like her (adoptive) mom.
In May of last year, Braekhus left her promotional firm, Germany’s powerful Team Sauerland, and signed with Tom Loeffler’s Los-Angeles based K-2 which has worked with the Klitschko brothers and promotes Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. For the Oslo show, however, the promoter of record will be Braekhus herself under the rubric “First Lady Promotions.”
The Oct. 1 show already has two names – “Arctic Rumble” and “The Homecoming,” the latter of which needs no explanation. As for her opponent, she promises that it will be someone from the first tier of lady fighters. In a recent interview with boxing reporter Cathal Jennings she said “I am looking for now at Gabrielle (sic), Christina Hammer, and Ericka Farias, maybe a rematch with Mikaela Lauren or (Anna Sophia) Mathis.” According to Per Ake Persson, a longtime observer of the Scandinavian boxing scene, her opponent, whoever that may be, must be ready for extensive anti-doping tests by August 6.
Trivia department: Braekhus is the first unified champion to emerge from Norway. In the history of boxing, only two Norwegians have held world titles – Pete Sanstol, a former bantamweight title claimant best remembered for his two fights with legendary Panama Al Brown, and Magne Havnaa who briefly held a version of the world cruiserweight title. Magne Havnaa’s son, Kai Robin Havnaa, is a promising cruiserweight with a 6-0 (5 KOs) record. The elder Havnaa died in 2004 at age 40 in a boating accident.
Pro Boxing Returns