Cecilia Braekhus and Jessica McCaskill will help break new ground for DAZN-USA, as their bout will now serve as the main event on August 15, live from downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their forthcoming welterweight title fight—which will take place at a 145-pound catchweight—marks the first time that a female bout will headline a stateside event for the sports streaming service since it broke ground in the U.S. in 2018.
The upgrade comes on the heels of the show losing its originally slated headline attraction when flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez (16-1, 12KO) was forced to withdraw from his planned second title defense versus Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Martinez has been sidelined through the rest of the July after suffering a respiratory tract infection.
“Braekhus-McCaskill is a fight fit to top any bill,” promoter Eddie Hearn said of the sudden development. “While it’s sad to lose the ferocious Mexican champion Julio Cesar Martinez from the show, Cecilia and Jessica more than deserve their spot as the main event – especially at a period of time when women’s boxing is on fire and in the spotlight.
“The winner in Tulsa [will look] to take on the winner of the crunch rematch between Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon, taking place a week after we return in America with a huge night of action in a stunning setting on the streets of Tulsa.”
Norway’s Braekhus (36-0, 9KOs) attempts a record-breaking 26th defense of at least one welterweight title which she has held since 2009. The unbeaten 38-year old pound-for-pound entrant signed with Matchroom Boxing late last year, making her debut under its banner with a 10-round win over Victoria Bustos last November.
Braekhus became the first female fighter to claim undisputed championship status, doing so in a 10-round win over Chris Namus in February 2016. Nine of her 25 title defenses have come with every major belt in her division at stake, more than any other undisputed champion in the four-belt (or more, counting the IBO) era.
McCaskill (8-2, 3KOs) moves up in weight after having unified two titles at junior welterweight. That run came after a July 2017 loss to Ireland’s Taylor (15-0, 6KOs) in a bid to claim a lightweight crown.
The loss marked her last time fighting at lightweight, with her past three bouts coming at junior welterweight. In her bid to become a two-division titlist, the Chicago native insists the extra weight won’t at all serve as a burden. In fact, it will place her back in her comfort zone.
“What a lot of people don’t know, I started my amateur career at 152 and then moved down to 145 and 142-ish,” notes McCaskill. “The fight at 135 (with Taylor) was the first time I moved down to fight at that weight and that was as a professional. So, just creeping back and forth between 135 and 145 is not an issue.
“It gives me an opportunity to switch up my training and work on something that I can now do at this weight. But the transition hasn’t been an issue at all.”
With the fight now serving as the new main event, comes a recently added chief support. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com contributor Dan Rafael, Uzbekistan’s Israel Madrimov (5-0, 5KOs) will face Louisiana’s Eric Walker (20-2, 9KOs) in the confirmed co-feature bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox