Cecilia Braekhus is no longer in position to become a two-division champion.
The legendary former undisputed welterweight queen woke up Saturday morning with flu-like symptoms, which has forced her to withdraw from a challenge of Terri Harper’s WBA junior middleweight title. The bout was scheduled as one of two title fights on Saturday’s DAZN show from 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
“Just woke up this morning with the flu, headache, fever, ear, nose, throat and the whole thing,” a bedridden and devastated Braekhus revealed Saturday morning.
Braekhus and Harper both made weight for their scheduled 10-round title fight in supporting capacity to the Chantelle Cameron-Katie Taylor undisputed junior welterweight championship atop the bill. There were no issues at the time but things took a dramatic turn for the worse for the legendary former champ in the 24 hours that have since passed.
“I felt great yesterday at the weigh-in,” noted Braekhus. “I’m just heartbroken. Gutted for Terri of course. Sorry to all my fans. Still want to thank Matchroom (Boxing) and Terri for the chance to do this. Hopefully we can (reschedule) real soon).”
Harper (13-1-1, 6KOs) was due to make the first defense of the WBA junior middleweight title she acquired in a ten-round win over Hannah Rankin last September 24 in Nottingham, England. The bout took place on a card that was originally scheduled to house the first Mauricio Lara-Leigh Wood WBA featherweight title fight.
The rest of the show will move forward, just with one fewer fight.
Eddie Hearn, Harper’s career-long promoter, confirmed that Harper will land on the Lara-Wood rematch next Saturday in Manchester, England. The opponent is not yet established as the news was still raw.
“I just got a text in the middle of the (Matchroom Boxing Fight Day run) saying that Cecilia has woken up with the flu, can’t breathe, can’t get out of bed,” Hearn confirmed to Boxing-Social.com. “Stefy (Bull, Harper’s manager) was on the run with me. Terri was standing right here, she’s obviously devastated.
“[Harper] will fight next weekend in Manchester. It won’t be against Braekhus, I very much doubt it. It’s a seven-day wait (for Harper), but the fight was a dream for us.”
Braekhus (37-2, 9KOs) previously held at least two welterweight titles for more than eleven years, more than four of which were spent as undisputed champion. The 41-year-old from Bergen, Norway by way of Cartagena, Colombia made a record 25 title defenses before her reign ended with back-to-back defeats to Jessica McCaskill. Just one fight has followed, an eight-round win last December at junior middleweight in Indio, California.
Saturday’s historic card in Dublin moves forward as a seven-fight event. Hearn confirmed that the Thomas Carty-Jay McFarlane heavyweight bout will now open the main DAZN show.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox