Cecilia Braekhus: Happy to be back with trainer Johnathon Banks ahead of Terri Harper clash in Dublin

Cecilia Braekhus is the first female ever in boxing to claim undisputed status, she ruled the welterweight division for six full years titled as The First Lady. 

Braekhus’s record of 37-2 (9 KOs) is littered with record breaking moments. Braekhus brought boxing back to her adopted nation after a 33 year ban, defending her titles against Anne Sophie Mathis in Oslo, Norway.

The First Lady takes a stab at becoming a two-weight world champion next Saturday when she challenges Terri Harper for the WBA super welterweight world title on the undercard of Katie Taylor Vs Chantelle Cameron in Dublin, Ireland. 

“Things have been good.” Braekhus said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV News branded top-to-toe in Kronk clothing. “We started off in Detroit at Johnathon’s [Banks] gym. I love those guys, very supportive, we had a great camp over there. We then came here to London to spar some of the girls and get rid of some of that jet-lag. 

“I’m just incredibly grateful to share the ring with someone like Terri Harper, I’m really excited! She’s very well rounded, got great conditioning and is a good boxer. I think it is going to be a great fight if I don’t say so myself. After a long career this is one of the highlights. I did have my homecoming in Norway, I fought on HBO and I have had a great career. But to fight on this show with so many good fighters is incredible. To do this at the end of my career is so cool. I’m a big fan of Katie and Chantelle too, it is going to be an amazing fight. ”

Braekhus lost her undisputed titles to Jessica McCaskill in 2020, an unsuccessful rematch followed. She linked up with Abel Sanchez for the back-to-back defeats but is now back alongside long time trainer Johnathon Banks.

“I actually got stuck up in Big Bear for months during the pandemic.” Braekhus explained. “It was rough. Before I took the fight with McCaskill I had no idea there was a pandemic coming. It wasn’t so hard dealing with the defeat itself, it was more the people missing in my camp due to restrictions and other decisions. I was pretty much alone during that, It was at his altitude too. You really have to watch the medical side of that when you are training at high altitude. I was on a downhill path. I was working with Abel Sanchez, but sometimes different styles fit differently for certain fighters. I worked with Johnathon before because he was just such a good guy. He’s made so many world champions too, I have so much respect for him. But, it is also that I think our styles match. His style of training works for me. I asked him to take me back, and he was like ‘hmm..okay’.


“It took some years to get over that time to be honest with you. But I’m over it now, put my team back together and I’m good to go. I’m excited for people to see the real me again, not sad or tired, just me. I’m just incredibly grateful to share the ring with someone like Terri Harper next week. If you asked me about an event like this ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible.” 

Braekhus has seen both sides of the fence, the female side of the sport transforming during her reign.

“We are allowed to fight in the Olympics now.” Braekhus added. “During my time women were not allowed to fight in the Olympics. We were basically told to get out of the gym back then. It has been really weird to be on both sides of this. It’s so surreal, I still have to rub my eyes at times and think, is this really happening? It’s incredible to see so many good fighters right now.”