Norwegian boxing star Cecilia Brækhus made history over the weekend by winning her 26th professional match in a row against Ivana Habazin of Croatia in Denmark. Brækhus still can’t box in Norway, though, and there were other frustrations after her victory was secured.
Brækhus, from a country where professional boxing is banned, has gone on to become a world champion and now has four championship belts in the welter-weight class. Not only did she once again have to box in a ring outside her homeland, though, she also wishes her matches could be broadcast on an open TV channel.
“The most important thing for me is to share my experiences with the most people possible,” Brækhus told newspaper VG. Norwegian viewers had to pay NOK 299 to watch her on Viaplay or Viasat Parabol instead of on the free Viasat 4, where her matches were shown earlier.
“I understand that Viasat wants to charge, but we need to sit down and discuss the price,” Brækhus said. A Viasat spokeman said the broadcaster was “proud” to carry her fights and that the pay-per-view charge reflected “the costs we need to cover to arrange a match of this magnitude.” Viasat was “well-satisfied” with viewership and said Brækhus need only concentrate on “what happens in the ring.”
Brækhus was still celebrating her victory Saturday night when a social media stream of comments on the match was among many to be hijacked by the Islamic extremist group IS. Instead of merely carrying congratulations and reaction to her victory. Brækhus’ Twitter hashtag was used by IS to spread its boasting and photos of its latest execution in Iraq of British citizen David Haines. “We were disgusted and sorry but have no power over the acts of crazy people,” Brækhus’ commercial manager Rune Brynhildsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “What we think about this is not suitable to be published in Norwegian media.”