Holm agrees to fight Braekhus — in principle


Holly Holm vs. Cecilia Braekhus is a fight that cries to be made. Who would win? That’s what we’d all like to find out.

Holly Holm vs. Cecilia Braekhus is a fight that cries to be made. Who would win? That’s what we’d all like to find out.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Holly Holm, right, poses with Diana Prazak at a news conference before their Dec. 7 fight, won by Holm. The Bosque Farms native issued a statement Thursday through Fresquez Productions, agreeing in principle to a fight challenge issued by Norwegian boxer Cecilia Braekhus.

First, however, there’s the match between Fresquez Productions and Sauerland Event — two boxing promotional entities that aren’t used to losing.

Albuquerque’s Lenny Fresquez promotes Holm (32-2-3, nine knockouts), who, on Dec. 7 at Route 66 Casino Hotel, added two more world title belts to her impressive collection by easily defeating Australia’s Diana Prazak.

With the victory, Holm earned the WBF and IBA versions of the women’s world junior welterweight (140 pound) title.

Germany’s Wilfried Sauerland promotes Braekhus, a Norwegian fighter who’s undefeated in 21 professional bouts.

Both sides say they want the fight. Otherwise, would Braekhus and Sauerland have produced a video in which she “officially” calls Holm out? Otherwise, would Fresquez have shown that video — though heavily edited — to the crowd at Route 66?

In the video, Braekhus urges Holm to meet her in Las Vegas, Nev., in July to settle the matter of who’s the best pound-for-pound female fighter in the world. The video shown to the crowd at Holm’s Dec. 7 fight was edited to omit footage of Holm’s December 2011 knockout at the hands of France’s Anne Sophie Mathis — followed by a smiling Braekhus, commenting: “Ouch. That’s got to hurt.”

Later, Fresquez confirmed there have been talks about a Holm-Braekhus fight on the undercard of a major event next summer in Vegas, probably headlined by one or more Sauerland male fighters. Sauerland promotes, among others, WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin and IBF middleweight champ Arthur Abraham.

Fresquez released a statement on Thursday, Dec. 20, confirming she intends to accept Braekhus’s challenge.

Vegas seems like a nice compromise, since Fresquez is reluctant to take Holm to Europe — fearing his fighter wouldn’t get a fair shake or get top dollar, and since Braekhus is backed by a powerful promotional company. She thus can afford to resist the big paycheck Fresquez dangled in front of Mathis and others in order to entice them to New Mexico.

But in Vegas and elsewhere, undercard fighters tend to draw undercard paychecks. Holm has fought nothing but main events the past seven years, and Fresquez is adamant she’ll get main-event money if she fights Braekhus.

Holm has waged 34 of her 37 professional fights in New Mexico. Over the years, she and Fresquez often have been criticized for not fighting elsewhere.

Consistently, Holm has said she merely trains and fights — leaving business matters to Fresquez and manager Mike Winkeljohn.

“Show us the money,” Winkeljohn said after the Holm-Prazak fight, when asked about the possibility of a Holm-Braekhus showdown.

Fresquez said by phone he’s not convinced Sauerland truly wants the fight — despite that video.

“I’ve been trying to make that fight for two years,” he said.

If a spokesman for Sauerland were available, that person might well say the same thing. And so it goes.

Few female fighters are as well-connected as Braekhus. Few, if any, have a following at home like Holm’s. Both promoters, then, deal from a position of strength.

There must be some way they both can win — and make Holm-Braekhus happen.

Holm pitched a shutout at Prazak in the Dec. 7 fight, winning every round on all three official scorecards.

Holm blasted Prazak to the body throughout the fight but also landed some lightning-fast combinations to the head, taking only a few hard punches from the much smaller Australian in return.

When the shorter-armed Prazak (11-2, seven KOs) managed to close the distance, Holm repeatedly tied her up.

“She comes in, she throws her punches, then she gets out,” Prazak said. “She’s a champion fighter … I got beat by a better fighter, and I’d rather go in and fight the best and lose than fight bums and win.”