Jessica McCaskill played spoiler in a major way Saturday night.
McCaskill edged Cecilia Brækhus via majority decision to become the new undisputed welterweight champion of the world in downtown Tulsa, Okla. In doing so, in just her 11th pro fight, McCaskill (9-2, 3 KOs) handed Brækhus (36-1, 9 KOs) the first loss of her pro career and stopped the “First Lady” from snapping Joe Louis’ streak of 25 straight title defenses.
Judges scored it in favor of McCaskill 95-95, 97-93 and 97-94, crediting the Chicago native for outworking Brækhus by throwing 499 punches to Brækhus’ 269, though Brækhus was the more accurate puncher who landed 32 percent of her shots.
McCaskill set the tone with a relentless attack during the early rounds. Though she gave up size, her will overshadowed that of Brækhus’ early on, as she barreled through and got to the inside on the champ. The “First Lady” made adjustments, tried to bounce to the outside and countered well through the middle to late rounds.
By the end of the fight, McCaskill’s nonstop motor and bevy of punches earned judges’ respect more than Brækhus’ precision and they scored the bout that way, as McCaskill added the undisputed welterweight crown to her unified super lightweight titles.
Plus, she fought the anything’s possible adage into existence with her inspirational story of being homeless at one point of her life to becoming just the fourth woman in women’s boxing to be crowned undisputed world champion.
“This is for the fourth-grade-year-old homeless Jessica,” McCaskill said after the bout. “This is for the little girl that just didn’t care what people thought about her and learned to love herself even though she was really weird.”
While the 38-year-old Brækhus doesn’t know what the future holds, she seemed to acknowledge her age and historic career.
“If this is my last fight, I could leave women’s boxing and just say ‘I was a part of this. I was a part of taking women’s boxing to this level,'” she said.
McCaskill will now face the Aug. 22 victor between Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon. McCaskill has long coveted a rematch with Taylor, who defeated her via unanimous decision back in December 2017.
The McCaskill-Brækhus bout was held at the intersection of E. 5th Street and S. Boston Avenue in the heart of Tulsa, Okla. before no fans due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.