Widely regarded #1 pound for pound, welterweight champion, CECILIA BRAEKHUS entered the ring Saturday night, holding five of boxings most prestigious titles. Across the ring was Rhode Island’s own, KALI REIS, a former WBC women’s champion, using her underdog role to fuel a potential career altering victory.
Before a punch was thrown on Saturday at the StubHub Center by either women, the few inches between Braekhus and Reis were historic. The bout will be remembered as an action packed fight from start to end, but more importantly, the first ever women’s bout televised on HBO, and it certainly did not disappoint.
In the opening round of the ten-round championship bout, Braekhus tried to imposed her will, using a lively jab, in combination with a sharp and strong right hand to score on Reis. The early rounds were close, but it seemed that Braekhus was controlling the pace. However, in the sixth-round, Reis garnered her “Native Warrior” strength, and took matters into her own hands.
After landing a sharp right hook, and straight right, Braekhus began to feel the power of Reis, which only seemed to grow stronger as the fight continued. Finally, in the seventh-round, Reis’ power proved to overwhelm Braekhus, knocking down the undefeated champion for the first time in her career; but Reis was not done yet. Later in the ninth-round, yet another right hand found a home on Braekhus’ temple, unsteadying the legs of the champion, only surviving the onslaught due to the end of the round bell.
The fantastic fight went to the judges after ten-rounds, in which Braekhus outpointed Reis, by scores of 97-93 and 96-94 (2X) — to the disappointment of the fans in the StubHub Center, who let their disagreement be heard as roaring boo’s filled the stadium as the decision was announced.
Kali Reis had these comments after a great performance, “We were setting her up to be open for the right hand all night long,” Reis said. “I felt like I had it, especially with the knockdown. I do want a rematch. We made history tonight and that was a great thing.”
While speaking to HBO’s Max Kellerman after her unanimous decision win, Braekhus stated,”[Reis] is a top, top fighter and she gave me a tough fight.” Over roaring boo’s from the crowd who disagreed with judges scores, Cecilia said, “Yes, a rematch, a rematch for sure. Let’s do a rematch” and the boo’s turned into cheers.
Saturday night proved, in front of a nationally televised audience, women mean business in the sport of boxing and Kali Reis and Cecilia Braekhus were just the right fighters to prove it. A rematch is wanted by both fighters and HBO fans, and is expected.
The historic bout was promoted by 360 Promotions and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing