There’s more to the Windy City than stuffed pizza and Michael Jordan’s legacy. Just like there is more to woman’s boxing than Laila Ali and self-proclaimed Greatest Woman of All Time or GWOAT, Claressa Shields.
Enter Jessica McCaskill (8-2 3 KOs), the Chicago based unified super lightweight champion who is on the verge of a history-making moment for the sport.
McCaskill will challenge undisputed World Welterweight champion Cecilia Brækhus on Saturday, August 15 in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, live on DAZN with major implications on the line.
If Braekhus is successful, she’ll break Joe Louis’s record of 25 straight title defenses. That would also set Braekhus up to meet the winner of Katie Taylor vs. Delfine Persoon.
Windy City Cinderella Story
McCaskill first gained attention when she traveled to London to take on Taylor in December 2017.
She was the first challenger for Taylor’s WBA World Lightweight title and pushed the Irish sensation to the breaking point in the grueling contest. However, she suffered a unanimous decision loss in that contest.
“I would love the Taylor rematch and a chance to get my revenge, and definitely in a place like Wembley Stadium on a huge bill,” said McCaskill. “If we have fans again that stadium has 100,000 people and that’s the kind of crowd that needs to be at that kind of fight. I have my eyes on Taylor and I want that fight.
“Going to the UK for the Taylor fight, I didn’t know what to expect but it turns out that we have a ton of fans in the UK. I still hear from the UK fans on a regular basis and from the airport to the hotel to the venue, there were so many people that reached out and showed love to me and my team. Katie said that people were scared to fight her and of course, we weren’t, we took it and we learned that we were at that level.”
Her next outing welcomed WBC Super-Lightweight champion Erica Farias to Chicago in October 2018, with the pressure of the first Matchroom Boxing, McCaskill’s promoter, and DAZN show in the US. McCaskill showed out for her hometown, ripping the title from the Argentine to become World champion in just her eighth pro fight.
McCaskill then unified the Super-Lightweight division in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. in May 2019 against WBA champion Anahi Sanchez. Then she invited Farias back for a rematch and triumphing once again to defend the titles.
However, now she is facing arguably the best woman’s boxer ever in Cecilia Brækhus (36-0 9 KOs).
“The ultimate opportunity and reward in the fight is beating Cecilia, getting the belts and being in the history books,” McCaskill said. “Then we’ll move on and things will be bigger and broader and we’re just continuing to look for the levels and the steps in female boxing.
“This is a massive step from even the last fight, we just want to continue to conquer every challenge that comes our way,” she tacked on for good measure. “Winning on August 15 is everything, it opens up more mega fights.”
The GWOAT In The North
The 38-year-old Brækhus (36-0, 9 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Victoria Bustos in November as her sole outing of 2019. Her name is mythic in the annals of boxing and if McCaskill topples the giant in the Nordic North, she will instantly become legendary.
The Norwegian is hunting history as she looks to pass Joe Louis 72 year record of 25 straight successful World championship defenses, but McCaskill has her own legacy in mind ahead of the Tulsa tussle, and wants to extend her sensational run of form in the biggest night of her career to date.
McCaskill, 35, was busier last year, having defeated Anahí Esther Sánchez by unanimous decision in May to add the WBA super lightweight title to her WBC strap. This was all before defending both championships against Érica Farías in October.
“I was in New York for the first Taylor-Persoon fight and it was massive,” said McCaskill. “There was a lot of contact and it was a lesson for Taylor that you cannot take people lightly, it was a close fight and she could’ve been on the wrong side of the result. I think the second fight will be another classic.
“The Taylor fight was probably meant to be that way, nobody knew who we were, our background and our history, winning that fight could have probably massively disrupted the growth of women’s boxing. I don’t think anyone would’ve put a lot of money into me not knowing who I was. So, after Taylor won that fight, they put a lot of time and effort into Taylor and things developed from there.”
With boxing back, women’s boxing is showing that there are level to this and Jessica McCaskill is trying to prove she is the new one to watch.