Katie Taylor retains World Title following McCaskill war

Katie Taylor made another slice of history tonight, and thoroughly entertained in the process.

The Wicklow lightweight became the first female boxer to headline a Sky Sports-broadcast card, and successfully defended her WBA World title in doing so.

Taylor topped the bill at the famous York Hall in London and dominated challenger Jessica McCaskill to retain her newly won belt for the first time.

Having only won the title versus two-weight champ Anahi Sanchez at the end of October, eyebrows were raised when a return to the ring was announced for the Bray boxer so soon – however Taylor proved that there was no cause for concern as she claimed a clear win.

Indeed, with Taylor never looking likely to have trained in her isolated Connecticut base over the Christmas period, tonight’s fight almost worked as a bonus ahead of her long-promised homecoming next year.

The Bray boxer began well, without committing too much, perhaps respecting the visitor’s power, and landed sharply as McCaskill fell short with most of her big winging shots.

33 year old McCaskill had called Taylor out for much of 2017 and looked to get in close in the second, but the Matchroom star was getting the better of the exchanges.

McCaskill landed her first real shots of note in the third, perhaps sneaking the round, but was met with a volleys in response from Taylor.

A scrappy fourth saw Taylor land with the quality shots, but McCaskill looked dangerous inside – albeit more with her head than her fists.

Taylor became increasingly dominant in the fifth as the ragged McCaskill slowed somewhat.

There was a momentary scare in the sixth round as Taylor was wobbled for the first time in her career, shipping a clipping left hook, but the Irishwoman soon regained control.

Taylor began to wave McCaskill in in the seventh, showing real spite – before referee Howard Foster drew the ire of the crowd when he deducted a point from Taylor for holding and hitting.

Taylor was back on top in the eighth, picking her shots well, but McCaskill was standing firm in the face of the fire.

The pattern continued into the ninth, however Taylor herself seemed fatigued and was unable to step on the gas.

The Taylor dominance continued into the tenth and final round as Taylor rounded off the win in style as she landed from all angles.

Going to the cards with little doubt, Taylor was awarded the win on scorelines of 97-92, 97-92, and 98-91.

The win sees Taylor improve her record to 8(4)-0 as she successfully makes defence number one of her crown – while the game but outgunned challenger McCaskill slips to 5(3)-2(0).

Next up for the Irish hero, at long last, will be her triumphant homecoming – most likely at the 3Arena in Dublin next April.


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie