Katie Taylor’s run through boxing’s professional ranks has continued unblemished, though it wasn’t without a scare as she defeated tough challenger Jessica McCaskill in London on Wednesday night.
Taylor, the multiple time amateur world champion and Olympic gold medalist, improved to 8-0 in the pros after 10 rounds in London’s York Hall but McCaskill gave the Ireland native the toughest examination she has yet experienced in the professional game.
Despite the American challenger posing problems midway through the fight with a series of power strikes, Taylor was successfully able to maintain composure and outwork McCaskill throughout with sequences of quick and accurate blows.
The early rounds were cagey. McCaskill had Taylor touching the canvas in the second, though this was correctly ruled as a slip by referee Howard Foster. Soon, though, Taylor’s trademark speed began to take over.
McCaskill, ever a tough opponent, wasn’t showing signs of wilting. The American rallied in the sixth, landing arguably the biggest strike Taylor has received since turning pro in the sixth. Taylor was also deducted a point in round 7 for holding.
Taylor showed her experience towards the later rounds, forcing the fight into her own wheelhouse and allowing little opportunity to McCaskill. As the fight progressed towards its finish, McCaskill became more desperate as it became clear she was behind on the scorecards.
The telling blow never came for the American, however, as Taylor kept her opponent at distance and picked her shots to secure what was ultimately a clear-cut decision victory.
Taylor retained her WBA World lightweight title with scores of 97-92, 97-92 and 98-91 but McCaskill deserves enormous credit for a tough, gritty performance which had even a fighter of Taylor’s calibre searching for answers at several occasions throughout the contest.
This defense brings an end to a 13 month run in the professional bracket which has seen Taylor win 8 straight fights since turning pro and earning a WBA world title along the way. It is widely speculated that her next defense will take place in her home country of Ireland in the first half of 2018.