Cederroos (left) versus Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa. Photo by Stephanie Trapp/Trappfotos/SHOWTIME
A lot of time has passed since Sweden’s Elin Cederroos learned that she was going to challenge for The Ring’s inaugural super middleweight title in the United States. First, it was going to happen during the Kambosos-Lopez undercard, which was postponed a dozen times. Then it was moved to 2022 and then it was postponed again.
The wait, however, was worth it for everyone involved, as now Cederroos (8-0, 4KOs) will fight in one of the co-main events of the biggest fight in women’s boxing history on April 30.
“It’s great to be fighting in an arena as big as Madison Square Garden and that Matchroom has decided to go with this weight class,” Cederroos said in a phone conversation, referring to his upcoming fight for the undisputed 168-pound championship against The Ring’s No. 2-ranked WBC/WBO titlist Franchon Crews-Dezurn in the Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano undercard. “I want to be part of the movement that’s going on within the women’s boxing scene right now, and being able to leave my mark on this historic event is a great thing.
“Being on the same fight card as Taylor and Serrano is great too. Sure, it’s been a long journey up to this point, and it’s frustrating that the fight has been postponed multiple times, but it really hasn’t impacted my focus. My goal is to win all four belts and that has always been my goal. It was definitely worth the wait.
Cederroos is a former soccer player who is the current WBA and IBF Women’s Super Middleweight Champion, a division where she is also ranked No. 1 by The Ring. If she wins, not only will she lift the inaugural version of the legendary Ring championship belt in the 168-pound division, but she will also join Claressa Shields (160 and 154), Jessica McCaskill (147) and Katie Taylor (135) in as the first Ring champions and titlist to four belts.
The pressure will definitely be there, but Cederroos says she’s just as ready as she was when the fight was first announced.
“There’s nothing different for me with this fight,” said the 37-year-old mother of two, who made her boxing debut after having her second child. “I will do my job and that is to box in the best way possible. I’m in better shape than ever and can’t wait to show all the fans what I’ve achieved with all my hard work.
“That’s what I do, I box. I kept my focus and trained really hard like I always do. I did my job physically and mentally and I’m here to defend my belts. To be honest, I’ve been ready for a long time now, I’ll always be ready to defend my belts.
The pressure of being in the spotlight on the most important night in women’s boxing history surely weighs more on Cederroos and Crews-Dezurn than they’ll likely admit. But there’s also the added pressure of knowing that the winner will likely be challenged by the hungriest belt-eating predator in women’s boxing of all time.
Cederros claims to be ready for that as well.
“I’m looking forward to their fight,” Cederroos said, of the long-awaited middleweight grudge match between Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and Savannah Marshall, with the winner likely tempted to put on a few pounds to challenge what could be, in the case of Shields, an unprecedented undisputed third Ring and a championship with four belts in three different divisions.
“Marshall and Shields represent women’s boxing on an absolute level and watching them will be awesome. However, my main focus is on my own fight against Franchon Crews-Dezurn. I fight at super middleweight and whoever is ready to be my opponent should step in and fight me. No matter who is in front of me in the ring, I will always be ready to fight and defend my titles. Bring it on!”
Not confusing a dream with a post-dated check is probably a good idea for Cederroos, who will fight as a visitor against an American fighter who has already tasted the power of some of the best in the bizz (including Shields) and knows her well enough. around the ring. But she expects a tough fight in what is effectively the heaviest competitive division in women’s boxing (The Ring does not rate fighters above 168 pounds due to the lack of active fighters at those weights for moment), power being the decisive factor in a war of attrition.
“You’ll see fierce punches, quick feet and insane focus and I can only hope Franchon Crews-Dezurn is well prepared and ready to take on me,” Cederroos said, pressed for a prediction. “Of course I’m above that and I’ll be crowned undefeated champion at the end. I can’t wait to be there!