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Cecilia Braekhus


5′ 7½″ junior welterweight Cecilia Brækhus was born on September 28, 1981 in Cartagena, Colombia to Norwegian parents. She now lives in Bergen, Norway. She began kickboxing at age 14 and won World and European amateur gold medals in 2003 at 65 kg before she turned to boxing..

At the 2004 European Women's Championships in Riccione, Italy, Cecilia took the silver medal at 63 kg with a loss to Vinni Skovgaard of Denmark in the final. 

In March 2005 at Trondheim, Norway she won the Norwegian 75-kg championship with a 31-7 decision over Ingjerd Skogmo.

In May 2005 she won the 63-kg European Women's Championship in Tonsberg, Norway defeating Julya Nemtsova of Russian in the final on May 14 by a 22-15 margin. She had previously defeated Mandy Leunissen of Holland (RSCO-2) and Larisa Pop of Romania (29-18) in her quarterfinal and semifinal bouts.

She won the silver medal at 63 kg in the 2005 AIBA Women's World Championships in Podolsk, Russia, losing a rematch to Julya Nemtsova of Russia by a 34-23 margin in the final on October 2. She had previously defeated Islak Elif of Turkey RSCO- in the preliminary round, Alanna Murphy of Ireland (30-12) in the quarterfinal, and Vinni Skovgaard of Denmark (40-24) in the semifinal. 

At the 2006 Nordic Women's Championships in Tonsberg, Norway on March 26, Cecilia defeated Vinni Skovgaard of Denmark by a 17-14 margin to win the 63-kg division.

She made her professional debut on January 20 2007 at St. Jakob Halle in Basel, Switzerland, with a four-round unanimous (40-36,40-36,40-36) decision over Ksenija Koprek from Croatia, who fell to 0-2-0. Both boxers had weighed in at 140½ lbs.  She also caught the eye of coach Ulli Wegner,

On February 17, 2007 at Complexe Sportif in Evere, Belgium, Brækhus stopped Jana Matisova of Košice, Slovakia in the second round, dropping Matisova's record to 1-2 (0 KO's).

On May 26, 2007 at Jako-Arena in Bamberg, Germany, Cecilia (141 lbs) won a four-round unanimous (40-36,40-36,40-36) decision over Olga Bojare (133¼ lbs) of Latvia, who fell to 1-5-1 with the loss. (Bojare has never won outside Latvia but is a frequent opponent for rising boxers in Germany.)

On June 23, 2007 at Stadthalle in Zwickau, Germany, Cecilia (141 lbs) won a six-round unanimous decision over Borislava Goranova (140 lbs) of Bulgaria, who fell to 3-19-0 (0 KO's). (Goranova has never won outside Bulgaria but since 2001 has been a frequent opponent for world-ranked fighters in other countries, including Jane Couch four times, Anne-Sophie Mathis twice, Miriam Lamare, Agnieszka Rylik, Heidi Hartmann and Natascha Ragosina.)

Although Cecilia decided to take some time away from boxing after these bouts, she has built a fan and media following in Norway. In January 2008 it was announced that she would be the first female boxer to be signed by Team Sauerland Event Gmbh, one of the leading boxing stables in Germany and a competitor to Universum Box Promotion which built a women's boxing franchise around Regina Halmich. “Her tremendous popularity and her great success have convinced us,” said Sauerland managing director Chris Meyer about Brækhus. 

“I am really looking forward to coaching a female athlete,” said Sauerland trainer Ulli Wegner, adding: “There are a lot of things my boys can learn from her. She´s got what it takes to be a world champion.”  She says of Wegner: “He looks very strict on TV but if you meet him in person he is a very nice guy – a true gentleman. It´s been great to work with him.”

Brækhus, who will be known henceforth as "First Lady", says her goal is to be a world champion one day, adding that “Team Sauerland give me all the support I need. I will pay back their confidence with a lot of wins. For me it´s a great honour to be part of such a high-profile boxing stable.” 

On January 26, 2008 making her Sauerland Event debut at the Tempodrom in Kreuzberg, Germany, Cecilia (143¼ lbs) won by a TKO at 1:47 in the fourth round over Wanda Pena Ozuna (141½ lbs) of the Dominican Republic, who fell to 4-3-0 (1 KO).   Brækhus improved to 5-0 (2 KO's) as a pro boxer with this result.

On March 29, 2008 at Sparkassen-Arena in Kiel, Germany, Cecilia (143½ lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-64,60-53,60-53) decision over Tatjana Dieckmann (146¾ lbs) of Hamburg, Germany who fell to 1-3 (0 KO's).

On May 17, 2008 at Oberfrankenhalle in Bayreuth, Germany,
Cecilia (
141¼ lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-53,59-54,60-54) decision over Adelita Irizarry (142¾ lbs) of Hartford, Connecticut, USA.  Irizarry fell to 4-2 (2 KO's).

On June 21, 2008 in the first ever women's bout at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Cecilia (139½ lbs) fought a tough six-round see-saw battle with Nicole Woods (144 lbs) of Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA, winning by a unanimous (59-55,60-54,60-54) decision. Woods said, "Braekhus is a good fighter and to take nothing away from her it was her day. I broke my hand in the second round but continued on fighting with skill, heart and determination, by no means was I outclassed. I would have loved to see how the fight would have turned out if I had the use of both hands. So to the Sauerland Team whether it be here in the US or in Germany, Let's Do It Again".  Woods fell to 4-3 (0 KO's).

On September 20, 2008 at Seidensticker Halle, in Bielefeld,  Germany, Cecilia (144½ lbs) won an eight-round unanimous (80-72,80-72,80-73) decision over Kimberly "Cim" Harris (144¼ lbs) of Tampa, Florida.  Some of the card was televised, but the Braekhus-Harris bout was not. According to Erik Schmidt of BoxingNews.com, "Braekhus used her speed advantage to jab and pound Harris with combinations in the first round. The speed difference between the two fighters was immediately apparent, as well as the ability to move around the ring ... For the most part, Braekhus used quick combinations to hound Harris, hitting her often with crisp 1-2 combinations to the head as she lumbered forward ... After tasting a couple of big right hands from her in the first round, Braekhus looked as if she thought better of staying in close with Harris and opted for a safer punch and move strategy to keep from getting hit as often. This worked well, for Harris was unable to cut off the ring and adjusted slowly when Braekhus was using any kind of lateral movement. In the second round, Braekhus landed some tasty left hands, hitting Harris cleanly with them one after another ... Braekhus hit Harris at will in the fourth round ... Harris, for her part, tried to land but she was too slow in getting her wide body around the ring that by the time that she would get in range to land a shot, Braekhus had already moved out of distance ... Harris’s nose began to redden in the 5th round ... She did start the round off well, rushing in at Braekhus and hitting her with a flurry of shots. It was quite impressive and I couldn’t help but wonder why Harris had waited this long to unleash some shots, because she looked good when she was letting her hands go. Braekhus, however, continued firing off fast combinations to the head and she quickly regained control over the round. Near the end of the round, Harris landed several big right hands to the head. Harris came out strong again in the 6th round, throwing a fast flurry as she bum rushed Braekhus, keeping her back to the ropes. Braekhus fought back well with some good combinations, but Harris came on strong in the last second of the round with several right hands. Braekhus tried slugging with Harris in the 7th round, and took a lot of shots for her efforts. She fought back well, but didn’t have the power or the size to win at Harris’ power game. Braekhus then thought better of it and started moving in the last seconds of the round. In the 8th round, Braekhus concentrated on throwing fast combinations to the head, keeping Harris under a constant rain of shots. Both fighters clinched often after throwing shots. The round, however, belonged completely to Braekhus, who used her speed and combinations to dominate Harris."  Harris dropped to  5-13 (0 KO).

On October 25, 2008 at Weser -Ems-Halle in Oldenburg, Germany, Cecilia Braekhus won an eight-round unanimous (80-70,80-70,80-71) decision over Borislava Goranova of Sofia, Bulgaria. Goranova fell to 4-25-1 (0 KO's).

On March 14, 2009 at Ostseehalle in Kiel, Germany, Cecilia defeated her former amateur rival Vinni Skovgaard of Denmark by a 10-round unanimous (98-92,96-94,96-94) decision for the vacant WBA and WBC Welterweight titles. As reported by Erik Schmidt of BoxingNews24.com., "Braekhus ... used a combination of movement and speedy combinations to edge the hard punching Skovgaard through 10 hotly contested rounds. Braekhus was forced to move pretty much throughout the fight, for whenever she would stand in any one place for long, Skovgaard would find her with her hard jab and big power shots. However, Braekhus’s excellent movement was just what the doctor order, preventing Skovgaard from landing enough of her big shots to come out on top at the end of the tough fight. The constant movement may not have been pretty to watch for the boxing fans in the arena, yet it was effective in getting the win for Braekhus. In the 1st round, Braekhus came out circling the ring, landing well with her jab and then changing directions. She seemed to understand that being predictable was something that could lead to her getting hurt, and continued to switch directions every so often. Skovgaard, used to fighting opponents that stand directly in front of her, she wasn’t able to handle the frequent movement from Braekhus or her blazing fast hand speed. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds, Braekhus continued giving Skovgaard problems with her movements and speedy combinations. Skovgaard’s fast began reddening and swelling on the left side starting in the 3rd. Braekhus’s jabs were causing a lot of damage to her fast. At the same time, Skovgaard began to find success landing her own jabs, which were like a mini power punch. When she would land her jab, often times it would snap Braekhus’ head back violently. At the start of the 4th round, Skovgaard landed a powerful jab, snapping Braekhus’ head back. Skovgaard would later land some huge right hands catching Braekhus when she was coming in to land her usual short flurries. Skovgaard still wasn’t having much success in predicting where and when Braekhus would make her attacks, and had to settle for landing a shot whenever she could. Braekhus constant movement began to have an effect on her starting in the 5th, as she was now looking more tired, having even less power on her weak shots and getting caught more frequently by Skovgaard. After getting hit more than she was used to ... in the 5th, Braekhus stepped up the pace of her movement in the 6th. However, she was still getting caught over and over again as Skovgaard would cut off her avenue of retreat and then tagging her with big right hands and jabs. In rounds even through ten, Braekhus was now reduced to throwing arm punches as she was now running on fumes. She was still able to keep up her constant movement but you could see from her body language that she was quite tired. In the 10th, Skovgaard caught her often and landed some really big shots. However, by then, Braekhus had the fight well in control and could afford to lose a round."  Skovgaard fell to 7-1 (3 KO's).

On May 30, 2009 at Hartwall Arena in in Helsinki, Finland, Cecilia (144½ lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (98-92 x 3) decision over Amy Yuratovac (146 lbs) of  Hammond, Indiana, USA defending the WBA and WBC Welterweight titles. According to Erik Schmidt of BoxingNews24.com, "Braekhus ... dominated the 26-year-old Yuratovac for 10 rounds, using her longer reach, quicker hands and better movement. Yuratovac put a lot of pressure on Braekhus throughout the 10-round bout, but Braekhus’ long jab and fast combinations got the better of Yuratovac when she was able to get close to land. Occasionally, Yuratovac was able to land some nice hooks. However, those occasions were few and far in between as Braekhus was much too quick for Yuratovac to get in more a rare shot without getting hit numerous times to the head and body. If there’s anything that’s not to like about Braekhus’ performance it’s her lack of power. Braekhus could probably hit much harder than she does if she would sit down more on her punches instead of moving so much and fighting on her back foot. However, the crowd didn’t seem to mind her lack of power and cheered Braekhus continuously.". Braekhus progressed to 12-0 (2 KO‘s) with the win as Yuratovac fell to 6-3 (6 KO's).

On September 12, 2009 at MCH Messecenter in Herning, Denmark Cecilia Braekhus (146 lbs) won a 10-round unanimous (98-92,99-92,97-93) decision over previously undefeated Lucia Morelli (142¼ lbs) of Offenburg, Germany for the WBC and WBA Welterweight titles. Morelli fell to 13-1 (6 KO's) with the loss while Braekhus improved to 13-0 (2 KO's).  Video of fight

“I am pleased with my performance,” Braekhus said. “Amy was an unorthodox fighter, she tried to fight and I tried to box, but I am happy I defeated her clearly.” Coach Ulli Wegner added that  “Cecilia did very well tonight. Her development is tremendous. Today was a good test for her because her opponent was a true fighter and put on a strong performance. But Cecilia found the right solutions.”

On May 15, 2010 at Herning Kongrescenter in Herning, Denmark, Cecilia (146½ lbs) won a convincing ten-round unanimous (100-90x3) decision over Victoria Cisneros (142¾ lbs) of Albuquerque, NM, USA defending the WBC and WBA Welterweight titles and adding the vacant WBO Welterweight title to her collection.  Cisneros never got untracked offensively and did well to stay on her feet throughout this bout, which was dominated from start to finish by Brækhus's boxing skills.  Cisneros fell to 5-9-1 (1 KO's).

On October 30, 2010 at the Stadthalle in Rostock, Germany, Cecilia (146½ lbs) TKO'd previously unbeaten Mikaela Lauren (144¾ lbs) of Sweden at 0:40 in the seventh round of a scheduled ten-rounder for Braekhus's WBC, WBA and WBO Welterweight titles. Lauren, a former Swedish national swimming team member  who was coming off a six-round unanimous decision over veteran US boxer Jill Emery, had no answers for Brækhus's aggressive body attack so the outcome of the fight never seemed in doubt. Lauren fell to 6-1 (1 KO) with the loss.

On November 20, 2010 at Herning Kongrescenter in Herning, Denmark, Cecilia Brækhus (145 lbs) won by a third round KO over Eva Halasi (142¼ lbs) in a scheduled ten-rounder for the WBC and WBO Welterweight titles. Halasi fell to 6-3 (6 KO's).

Jill Emery vs Cecilia Braekhus
Jill Emery vs Cecilia Braekhus in April 2011
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On April 2, 2011 at Herning Kongrescenter in Herning, Denmark, Cecilia (147 lbs) won a 10-round unanimous (98-92,98-92,99-91) decision over Jill Emery (145 lbs) of New York defending her WBA, WBO, and WBC Welterweight titles. Photographer Mary Ann Owen told WBAN. "Braekhus was very aggressive all ten rounds landing more punches.  Emery had problems with Braekhus's pressure through out the rounds.  Emery landed a few punches but not enough pull out a win. Both fighters showed good sportsmanship and hugged and talked after the fight."  Emery fell to 10-5 (4 KO's).

On May 7, 2011 at the Koncerthuset in Copenhagen, Denmark, Cecilia (145¾ lbs)  won a ten-round unanimous (97-93,98-92,98-92) decision over Chevelle Hallback (142¼ lbs) of Tampa, Florida defending the WBC, WBA and WBO Welterweight titles.  Although the scorecards favored Braekhus, many rounds were close as the smaller Hallback appeared to surprise Brækhus with her punching power and raised a noticeable swelling under the defending champion's right eye wih one of several hard shots in the fifth. Braekhus had controlled Hallback in the early rounds but Hallback swung for the KO in the last two rounds while Brækhus used her mobility to get away and secure the points decision.  "It was a good fight, but I still have some things to work on", said Brækhus, adding "my guard was not good enough.  I did not think she would hit as hard as she did."  Brækhus improved to 18-0 (4 KO's) while Hallback fell to 28-7-2 (11 KO's).

On December 3, 2011 at the Hartwall Arena in  Helsinki, Finland, Cecilia Brækhus (146½ lbs) TKO'd Kuulei Kupihea (146 lbs) of Honolulu, Hawaii, at 0:57 in the final round of a scheduled ten for the WBC, WBA, and WBO welterweight titles. Brækhus controlled the action with her slick boxing skills before trying to put her opponent away late in the fight.  Kupihea was clearly outskilled by the champion but she defended well until the final round, then took a series of clean shots to the face including a right-left hook combo that had her stumbling against the ropes to draw the stoppage.  Kupihea fell to 7-2 (2 KO's).  [Video]

On June 2, 2012 at the Herning Kongrescenter, in Herning, Denmark, Cecilia Brækhus(146¼ lbs) successfully defended the WBC, WBA, and WBO World Welterweight titles with a ten-round unanimous decision over Jessica Balogun (146¾ lbs) of Aachen, Germany. The judges' scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 99-92. Brækhus improved to 20-0 (5 KO's) while Balogun (ranked #13 at welterweight by WBAN before this fight) fell to 22-2 (2 KO's).  

Brækhus had talked of a future big-money fight with American Holly Holm.  Holm's KO loss to Anne-Sophie Mathis of France on December 2 2011 removed the potential "best-in-the-world" luster from that match, but Holm won the rematch with Mathis by avoiding Mathis' power with ring movement and a lot of clinching. 

On September 22, 2012 at Arena Nord in Frederikshavn, Denmark, Cecilia Brækhus (146¼ lbs) won a 10-round unanimous (97-93x3) decision over Anne-Sophie Mathis (146 lbs) of Dombasle, France defending the WBA, WBC and WBO Welterweight titles. Brækhus seemed to have learned more by watching Mathis-Holm II three months earlier than Mathis had learned by being in it, as Brækhus used her athleticism to execute a crisp stick-and-move plus clinch-if-in-danger strategy to frustrate Mathis's power punching.  Mathis came forward steadily throughout the fight but Brækhus used her lateral movement and speed to prevent Mathis from landing more than occasional single shots solidly. Brækhus often replied to a hard shot from Mathis with a hard combination of her own, and she went forward aggressively with her own combinations if Mathis slowed at all.  Mathis showed little willingness to adapt her strategy throughout this fight, apparently hoping to walk Brækhus down and overpower her eventually.  However, Mathis was never able to contain Brækhus for long and she was wrapped up in clinches whenever Brækhus was in any hint of trouble. Brækhus advanced to 21-0 (5 KO's) while Mathis slipped to  26-3 (22 KO's) with her second straight pro loss.

On April 13 2013 at Arena Nord in Frederikshavn, Denmark, Cecilia Brækhus (144½ lbs) won by a TKO at 1:38 in the third round over Mia St. John (140¼ lbs) of Oxnard, California, USA defending the WBA, WBC and WBO Welterweight titles.  St.John, who has boxed professionally since 1997 and  "retired" from the sport on several occasions, offered little resistance to Brækhus as she fell to 47-13-2 (18 KO's).

On September 7, 2013 at Arena Nord in Frederikshavn, Denmark, Cecilia Brækhus (145½ lbs) won by a TKO at 1:51 in the ninth round over previously undefeated Oxandia Castillo (146½ lbs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Brækhus was defending the WBA, WBC and WBO Welterweight titles.  Castillo, a 17-year-old who had mainly fought unranked opponents in the Dominican Republic, had burst onto the world scene with a stunning second round KO of Hanna Gabriel of Costa Rica for the WBO Junior Middleweight title six months before she faced Braekhus.  Castillo put on an aggressive fight but her relative inexperience showed as the match reached its later rounds and Brækhus began to dominate.  Castillo fell to 12-1-2 (9 KO's) with the loss.

On February 1, 2014 at Arena Nord in Frederikshavn, Denmark, Cecilia Brækhus (145 lbs) won a clear ten-round unanimous (100-89,100-90,100-89) decision over Myriam Lamare (143 lbs) of Marseilles, France defending the WBA, WBC and WBO Welterweight titles. The normally aggressive Lamare appeared reluctant to close with Brækhus and intent on staying safely away from her combinations so she spent much of the matchup on defense (see video above).  Lamare went to the canvas in the seventh and Brækhus was rarely in any trouble as she coasted to a 24-0-0 (7 KO's) record while dropping Lamare's to 22-4 (10 KO's)

On June 7, 2014, at the Sport and Congress Center, Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, Cecilia Braekhus won a 10-round unanimous decision over Jessica Balogun, 10 rounds. Braekhus was defending her WBO, WBC, and WBA welterweight belts.  Full Story with Photos

On September 13, 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Cecilia Braekhus, now 26-0-0 (7KO), won a 10-round unanimous decision over Ivana Habazin, 13-2-0.  The two were fighting for the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO welterweight titles. Full Fight Video In a second bout, Klara Svensson won a 10-rounder over Marie Riederer.  The two were fighting for the interim WBC light welterweight title.

On November 29, 2014, at the Falconer Centeret, in Frederiksberg, Denmark Cecilia Braekhus, 142½, successfully defended her titles(WBO, WBA, IBF, WBC) against Jennifer Retke, 145½, in a ten-round unanimous decision; and Klara Svensson, 138¼, won a ten-round unanimous decision over Lucia Morelli, 135½. Full story with photos 

On February 27, 2016, at the Gerry Weber Stadium, Halle, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, Cecilia "First Lady" Braekus, 146¾, of Bergen, Noway, remaining undefeated at  28-0-0 (7KO), successfully defended her WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO World Welterweight titles with a ten round unanimous decision over Chris Namus, 146½, of Montevideo, Uruguay, now 21-4- (8KO).

On October 1, 2016, at the The Spectrum, Oslo, Norway,
Cecilia Braekhus, 145.75, won by a second round TKO over Anne-Sophie Mathis, 145.25, in a scheduled unified world title bout for the WBC, WBO, IBF, IBO, WBA Welterweight titles.

On February 24, 2017, at the Spectrum, Oslo, Norway,
Cecilia Braekhus, 146¾, Bergen, Norway, won a ten-round unanimous decision over Klara Svensson, 145.  Braekhus was defending her WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO welterweight world title.  Final judges scores were 91-99, 91-99, and 90-100.

On June 9, 2017, in Bergenhus Festning, Bergen, Norway, in what considered a five-star matchup, Cecilia "First Lady" Braekhus, 147, successfully defended her five welterweight world titles that include the WBC, WBA, IBO, IBF, and WBO, winning by a unanimous decision over Erica Farias, 144. Judges scores, 99-91, 99-91, 98-92.  Full Fight Video

On October 21, 2017, atthe Oslofjord Convention Center, Stokke, Norway, Welterweight Cecilia Braekhus won by a sixth round TKO over Mikaela Lauren.  Braekhus successfully defended her IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC, and WBO welterweight titles.

Other Cecilia Braekhus links

  • Video interview with Karsten Harbo Hansen (YouTube)
  • Tribute Video fight highlights (YouTube)

Page last updated, Monday February 3, 2014


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