By David A. Avila / Pic courtesy of Mary Ann Owen
Undisputed female welterweight world champion Cecilia Braekhus returns to defend her gaggle of championship titles against Uruguay’s Chris Namus on Saturday Feb. 27.
It’s been more than a year since she’s entered a prize ring.
“It was because of an injury. I broke my foot last November,” said Braekhus over the phone.
Still undefeated, Braekhus (27-0, 7 KOs) made some major changes in her career including signing with a new promotion company, K-2 Promotions. When she enters the ring on Saturday to face Namus (21-3, 8 KOs) it will take place in Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany. It will not be televised in the U.S.
But Braekhus has big plans for the U.S. where new worlds remain for her to test her boxing talent. Though she’s conquered Europe, she sees North America and South America filled with new challenges.
One major challenge on her mind is bringing female prizefighting to the forefront. She knows America has not accepted female boxing despite producing many champions.
“I’m very surprised thinking about the negativity. Mia St. John, Ali, Lucia Rijker, Christy Martin you have so many legacies and new talent like Claressa Shields and these girls coming up on the Olympic team,” said Braekhus about the U.S. talent pool from the past and the future. “I guess many of them will turn pro, they’re so talented. I don’t get it.”
The Colombian-born prizefighter, who grew up in Norway and now resides in Germany, signed with K-2 after seeing the success other European fighters had, especially Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Braekhus hopes to duplicate that success while adding intrigue into female prizefighting in the U.S.
It’s a brand new journey.
“That’s one of the reasons why I broke up with Sauerland Events and started with K-2 Promotions. I wanted to get out a little wider and hope to get the chance to fight in America,” Braekhus said. “I would love to be that person (to help women’s boxing in the U.S.), it would be an adventure. This would be one of the biggest adventures. I’m up to it. I’m ready for it.”
First, the welterweight world champion must defeat Uruguay’s representative.
Namus, 28, is a tall female welterweight from the city of Montevideo. She had two cracks at the female world title in the junior welterweight division but walked away without a win. Since moving up a weight division, Namus has been undefeated in three tries.
“I would describe her as a tough comeback fight. I really don’t have time or motivation to pick an easy comeback fight. She is a tough girl coming from Uruguay and has 23 fights behind her. She is highly motivated and with a lot of fights, she is strong and it will be a great fight,” Braekhus said. “Being a girl you have to put on a good show. She will do it. She is a terrific fighter.”
And if she vanquishes Namus other challenges remain.
Central Americans and North Americans roam the New World for the welterweight world champion. Though in their own countries they may not be known, among European prizefighters, the American girls are very much recognizable.
Names like Layla McCarter, Hanna Gabriel and Erica Farias are female prizefighters based in the Americas that are notable challenges.
“There are many left. We are looking up and down the weight divisions. Next opponent is a strong girl,” she said. “A division above me there is Hanna Gabriel, Christina Hammer. Down a division is Erica Farias. And yes there is Layla McCarter. We have done negotiations with her too. That would be a great time.”
Step one is getting back inside the prize ring on Saturday.
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