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Jessica McCaskill sees Cecilia Braekhus as gateway to more big fights

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The 140-pound titlist goes after the undisputed welterweight queen on Aug. 15.

Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Jessica McCaskill already holds the WBC and WBA 140-pound titles, and now she’s looking to go even bigger.

The 35-year-old Chicago native will headline Aug. 15 on DAZN from Tulsa, Okla., where she’ll face undefeated Cecilia Braekhus, the undisputed welterweight champion.

McCaskill (8-2, 3 KO) is absolutely a big underdog, but she’s aiming not just for this one upset, but an upset of Braekhus leading to even more big fights.

“We’ll be in the Hall of Fame after winning this, that’s the big prize in the fight,’ said McCaskill. “After that, we move on to more history, to bigger and more fights with the top tier names.

“The ultimate opportunity and reward in the fight is beating Cecilia, getting the belts and being in the history books. 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. Winning on Aug. 15 is everything, it opens up more mega fights; the Katie Taylor rematch, Amanda Serrano, Claressa Shields at 145 pounds — there’s so many doors that can be opened by beating Cecilia.”

The show’s original main event was supposed to be Julio Cesar Martinez defending his WBC flyweight crown against McWilliams Arroyo, but Martinez got sick in camp in July, and had to cancel. The show goes on, and now the spotlight will be on the women, who were originally meant to be the co-feature.

“We’ve headlined before so it’s exciting to add another one to the resume and this is a major fight but it does get bigger than this and that’s something that we’ll have to see once this one is done,” McCaskill said.

The bout will also be fought at a 145-pound catchweight. McCaskill has settled at 140, but started out in the low 130s. She’s not worried about the weight against the 38-year-old Braekhus (36-0, 9 KO)

“We’ve fought at higher weights and lower weights, the adjustment is minimal and with every fight I’ve had, my body has developed more and more,” she said. “The transition has been smooth and easy and we haven’t had to do much as far as weight is concerned.”

The fight, when originally meant to happen in April, saw Braekhus around a -900 favorite, and that’s probably where the lines will be this week. There is an argument, of course, that Braekhus is getting older, and not just in years; with 36 pro fights and 284 rounds under her belt, she’s perhaps “ring older” than even the three years separating she and McCaskill, who has just 10 fights and 61 rounds under her belt.

But the experience that Braekhus has is a huge factor, too. She’s been in with a lot of the better fighters in the world over the years, and she’s never lost. McCaskill, of course, has, tasting defeat in her second pro bout back in 2016, and then to Katie Taylor in 2017, with Taylor pretty handily outboxing her.

McCaskill has definitely gotten better since then, and has handled herself well in her last three bouts, picking up a pair of world title belts. This is the biggest shot she could possibly get right now, and the American will look to make it count.