By Marc Livitz: Cecilia Braekhus didn’t let a flash knockdown in the seventh round stop her from defending her unified welterweight championship against Kali Reis at the StubHub Center on Saturday night. The unanimous decision victory improved her record to 33 wins without a defeat.
Each fighter snapped their respective jabs from the opening bell. A quick left hook to the head from the champion a few moments before the end of round one may have been the lone highlight of the first two minutes, though the two did briefly exchange shortly beforehand. Braekhus (33-0, 9 KO’s) remained the slightly more active of the two in the second as Reis (13-7-1, 4 KO’s) looked to counter. The Norwegian champion’s jab began to make a difference over the next few rounds. A more combative side between the two surfaced as the fifth was underway. “First Lady” Braekhus fired away with her left jab as her Rhode Island opponent looked to double and triple hers.
Kali Reis was proceeding to feel the harsh impact of Cecilia’s punches in the sixth and the talent gap which separated the two women was becoming quite clear. A hard overhand right to the chin only compounded her problems through six rounds. A straight right briefly changed her fortunes near the last minute of the seventh. Braekhus was sent off balance and her glove touched the canvas. A customary count from referee Gerard White passed and she was more than fit to continue. Reis, a former middleweight titleholder looked to capitalize in round eight with a more aggressive approach, yet she found Cecilia to a bit difficult to locate. She absorbed a hard right to the face in the dying seconds.
Braekhus used her left jab to set up a right hook early in the ninth. She was able to effectively time and guess almost exactly when Reis would move inward, and she was ready for each attempt. With the knowledge that she’d need a knockout to win the contest, Kali threw everything she had at Cecilia in the tenth and final two minutes. It would be to no avail.
The last bell sounded and the two boxers smiled at the other as they shared a quick embrace. Though Cecilia Braekhus appeared to have won a clear decision, the judges at ringside ultimately held the call. Tim Cheatham saw the bout 97-92, while Zac Young and Edward Hernandez were in agreement with a score of 96-93 to award the unanimous decision win to “First Lady” Braekhus.
Additional Results from the StubHub Center in Carson
Ruslan Madiev UD 10 Jesus Perez - Super Lightweight
Jesse Rodriguez KO 3 Armando Vazquez - Minimumweight
Brian Caballo UD 4 Nam Phan - Welterweight