This Saturday, live on DAZN, Cecilia Brækhus (36-0, 9 KOs) will look to cement her legacy as undisputed welterweight champion with an opportunity to break Joe Louis’s 72-year-old record for most consecutive world title defenses. In the way of making history is the former super lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill (8-2, 3 KOs) who will enter the ring on Saturday night looking to transform her ring story with a victory over Brækhus. Both main event fighters successfully made weight on Friday afternoon in Tulsa ahead of their highly-anticipated bout tomorrow night on DAZN (8 p.m. ET).
The undercard fighters also tipped the scales successfully ahead of Saturday’s event on DAZN. Super Welterweight Israil Madrimov (5-0 5 KOs) will meet former Contender finalist Eric Walker (20-2, 9 KOs) in a final eliminator for the WBA World title while Madrimov’s fellow countryman Shakhram Giyasov (9-0 7, KOs) looks to extend his pristine ring record against Wiston Campos (31-7-6, 19 KOs). Two of Matchroom’s standout prospects – Nikita Ababiy (8-0, 6 KOs), and Raymond Ford (5-0, 2 KOs) – will also take center stage on the streets of Tulsa.
Make sure to watch the Official Fight Trailer and the Fight Feature ahead of the stacked Matchroom Boxing USA card. Fight night coverage on DAZN will begin tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET.
10-Round Undisputed Welterweight Title Bout @ 147 lbs.
Cecilia Brækhus: 145 lbs.
Jessica McCaskill: 144.4 lbs.
10-Round WBA World Super Welterweight Title Bout @ 154 lbs.
Israil Madrimov: 153.6 lbs.
Eric Walker: 153.2 lbs.
10-Round Super Lightweight Bout @ 142 lbs. (catch-weight)
Shakhram Giyasov: 141.4 lbs.
Wiston Campos: 141.4 lbs.
6-Round Middleweight Bout @ 160 lbs.
Nikita Ababiy: 160.2 lbs.
Jarvis Williams:159.4 lbs.
6-Round Featherweight Bout @ 126 lbs.
Raymond Ford: 126.8 lbs
Eric Manriquez: 126.6 lbs.
Cecilia Brækhus (36-0 9 KOs) has dominated the Welterweight division for 11 years, and victory over Jessica McCaskill would see the Norwegian sensation break Joe Louis’ record of 25 consecutive World title defenses, with the 38-year-old’s career stretching back to her first World title fight in her 11thpro outing in March 2009.
‘The First Lady’ still holds the same ambitions from when she first became a World ruler, and with a long camp behind her in Big Bear, California with new trainer Abel Sanchez, Brækhus is itching to get back into action and defend her belts in style.
“Finally, we have a new fight date, and I cannot wait to return to battle,” said Brækhus. “It’s been an extended camp in Big Bear with my new trainer Abel Sanchez, and I’m very excited to defend my world titles against Jessica on August 15. I know how tough of a fight this is and will be well prepared for victory.
“Thanks very much to Abel, the Matchroom Boxing Team, and Tom Loeffler for all of their support during these unique times. And to my fans in Norway, the United States and all over the world, thanks so much for continuing to inspire me, I hear you loud and clear.”
McCaskill (8-2 3 KOs) should mark the return of Matchroom Boxing USA on DAZN from the lockdown as the Chicago ace won her WBC World Super-Lightweight title in Hearn’s first-ever show on the groundbreaking streaming network in America in her hometown in October 2018 against Erica Farias.
‘CasKILLA’ went on to unify the division by taking the WBA crown from Farias fellow Argentine Anahi Sanchez in May 2019 in Maryland before putting both belts on the line in a rematch with Farias in her Windy City home, edging out her old foe via majority decision.
The 35-year-old now meets the Norwegian superstar for the undisputed title in just her 11th fight, and McCaskill is determined to keep her fairytale story going and end Braekhus supremacy.
“I’m just looking to make history and shock the world as I usually do every time,” said McCaskill. “I’m expecting to knock out Cecilia. I don’t know what round, but this extra time we’ve got to train before the fight is definitely going to make us a lot sharper and a lot stronger and smarter overall.
“I’ve been in the gym every day for multiple workouts, and I can’t wait to show what we’ve been working on.”
Shakhram Giyasov continues to rise up the Super-Lightweight rankings and the Uzbekistan talent – one of three from the emerging boxing powerhouse under the spotlight in Matchroom Boxing’s latest YouTube feature– and he defends his WBA International Super-Lightweight title against Francisco Rojo.
Giyasov (9-0 7 KOs) picked up the strap he defends in Tulsa in April 2019 with victory over Emanuel Taylor in California, and in his first defense, certainly saw the boxing world stand up and take notice as he obliterated former World champion Darleys Perez inside 30 seconds of the fight.
The highly decorated amateur is ranked at number seven in the WBA, and a second successful defense of his belt would move him into a high position to land a shot at the World title in the future.
“I’m very excited to defend my title on August 15 against Francisco Rojo,” said Giyasov. “I know how tough of a fight this is and have already started training with Coach Diaz in Southern California to prepare for victory.
“Huge thanks to my team at World of Boxing and Vadim Kornilov along with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN for this tremendous opportunity.”
Rojo (22-3 15 KOs) returns to action following a brief spell on the sidelines and looking to spoil Giyasov’s rise. The Mexican has a wealth of experience from his 25 fight pro career, and the 29-year-old is confident of causing an upset against the 26-year-old.
“What a wonderful opportunity,” said Rojo. “My gym is now open, and I will be well prepared. I showed American fans I could fight when I fought Ryan Martin in Las Vegas, and I’ll remind them again when I beat Giyasov.”
Three of Hearn’s talented youngster’s complete the line-up, and it promises to be a memorable night for amateur standout Marc Castro as he makes his pro debut alongside rising starlets Nikita Ababiy and Raymond Ford.
Hearn beat off fierce competition to ink a deal with Castro, with the 20-year-old turning over with an amateur record of 177 wins and seven losses with a stellar 48-1 record in the international and national competition. In addition to being a two-time Amateur World Champion, Castro is a 16-time National Champion, three-time National Silver Gloves champion, and two-time National Junior Olympics Champion.
“I’m excited to start my professional journey to becoming a World champion,” said Castro. “The extra time has just made me even hungrier to get my career going, and I cannot wait to showcase what I will bring to the pro game.”
Ababiy (8-0 6 KOs) fights for the ninth time in the paid ranks and for the first time since a controversial DQ win over Jonathan Baptista at the Staples Center in Los Angeles gave ‘White Chocolate’ the sixth win inside the distance since turning pro as one of Hearn’s first US signings in October 2018.
“I’m excited to light up that ring, it’s been way too long,” said Ababiy. “I’ve been working hard behind the scenes, and I will be looking to steal the show on August 16 – White Chocolate is back!”
Ford (5-0 2 KOs) will taste his sixth action as a pro. For the ‘Savage,’ it’s a chance to unleash the frustrations of two-thirds of a year on the sidelines since the 21-year-old from Camden, New Jersey, recorded his second win inside the distance from his five pro fights to date in Phoenix in December 2019.
“Due to injuries and this pandemic, it will be eight months before I fight again,” said Ford. “It feels great to get back in the ring finally. It’s been hard during the pandemic, but I used this time to work on my craft, and it made me go harder in the gym. On August 15, I will show the world why I’m the BEST prospect in boxing.”
The announcement of Hearn’s return to boxing in the States comes hot on the heels of the promoter releasing details of four stacked and ultra-competitive fight cards in Britain over four weeks in the unique setting of the grounds of the company’s Essex headquarters.
Hearn is following that bold move with more ambitious plans for his American return, with the elite-level bill set to have a unique setting in Tulsa unveiled soon.
“We are ready to return in the States, and just like Fight Camp in the UK, we plan to do things differently,” said Hearn. “We are heading outdoors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and we’re planning something unique and special for this double World championship header that should both thrill in the ring.
“Beneath them, ‘Wonder Boy’ Shakhram Giyasov steps up the gears as he homes in on a 140lbs World title shot and US amateur sensation Marc Castro makes his professional debut. Rising US stars Nikita Ababiy, and Raymond Ford steps up the opposition as they continue their rise to the top.”