Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus Decisively Beats Svensson; Who’s Next?
A battle between Nordic prizefighters saw Cecilia Braekhus calmly control the action to defeat Klara Svensson by unanimous decision on Friday to retain the welterweight world championship.
Norway’s Braekhus (30-0, 8 Kos) remained undefeated and kept the WBC, WBA IBF and WBO titles against Sweden’s Svensson (17-2, 5 KOs) at the Spectrum in Oslo, Norway before a sold out crowd. It was only the second time Braekhus fought in her country.
The showdown between the two best female boxers in the Nordic countries was expected by some to be hotly contested, especially with Svensson’s earlier proclamations.
But when the first bell rang Svensson got on her bike and expended a lot of energy avoiding the patient advances of Braekhus who landed the first good blow with a check left hook.
Svensson proved to be agile with her legs and showed quickness, but was wide with her punches and fired combinations with her head down. It proved to be the Swedish fighter’s only method of attack for all 10 rounds.
Braekhus calmly moved in with her left hand low and right hand cocked for action. When Svensson unleashed her wild combinations the Norwegian champion picked them off and fired straight blows in the first round.
In the second round Svensson connected with a strong right that seemed to buckle the legs of the champion. But the moment passed and Braekhus regained momentum.
The referee Massimo Barrovecchio spent too much time breaking them up throughout the match. With the two-minute rounds it was an extreme waste of time. In one instance he wasted 30 seconds separating them despite the fact they had already broken apart during a clinch.
With all the running by Svensson, by the fourth round she seemed to be gassing out. Meanwhile, Braekhus was gaining more control and mixing her attack with one-two combinations and counter left hooks.
Despite an obviously tired Svensson, she managed to mount an attack in the fifth with repeated right hand leads. Braekhus responded with a right uppercut and Svensson responded back with a four-punch combination. Though Svensson might have won the round she looked spent and exhausted in her corner.
From the sixth round on Braekhus took full control of the fight and marched forward against the tired Swede. Though Svensson repeatedly charged in with her head down, Braekhus never could take advantage with a well-placed uppercut.
The Norwegian fighter was far more accurate with her punches as the fight continued but though she connected, Svensson never seemed to be in danger of going down. But the straighter punches were telling as Braekhus blocked Svensson’s wider shots and returned fire.
After 10 rounds one judge scored it 100-90 and two others 99-91 for Braekhus who retains all of the world titles with her clear win over Svensson.
Coming to America?
So what is next for the welterweight champion?
Many in the U.S. are hoping for Braekhus to face Layla McCarter. It’s been a dream matchup for the last three years, but lately, not on the Norwegian’s radar. Recently she had spoken to ThePrizefighter.com and mentioned several other candidates.
“We are definitely thinking about coming to America. We just have to figure out deals about the revenue and opponents. There is just small stuff to work out,” said Braekhus in January before this last fight took place. “There are some names we have to look at a little bit closer.”
Braekhus applauds the sudden shift toward women’s boxing by American television. She likes what she sees in Claressa Shields and others.
“Of course Claressa Shields said she wants to fight but she needs more fights. We are looking for someone,” said Braekhus by telephone. “I love to watch Claressa.”
The welterweight champion said she was happy that Americans finally saw two elite female fighters compete when Amanda Serrano defeated Mexico’s Yazmin Rivas last month in New York City.
“I’m so glad this fight happened. For us over here (in Europe) it’s ridiculous the way women’s boxing has been ignored. It’s hard for me to understand what’s happening,” Braekhus said. “The American girls are in the Olympics and outside of America, big fights are happening all over the world for female boxing.”
America could be host to Braekhus soon. She signed a promotional contract with K2 Promotions that also has middleweight world champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin among others.
Those fighters who could face the welterweight champion are Shields, Serrano or McCarter.
On Friday, McCarter, who is ranked number one as a welterweight, said she saw the fight between Braekhus and Svensson. She wants to face Braekhus.
“I was not impressed by their fight,” said McCarter who recently signed with Mayweather Promotions and was at an event at Pechanga Casino last Friday. “I’m ready to fight her at any time. Hopefully she agrees.”
A battle between Braekhus and McCarter would end the debate of which female is the best fighter pound for pound.