Tuesday 11 December 2018

Taylor will be boring if necessary to gain the all-important victory

Katie Taylor with Jessica McCaskill at yesterday’s weigh-in. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Katie Taylor with Jessica McCaskill at yesterday’s weigh-in. Photo: SPORTSFILE

World champion Katie Taylor holds all the aces ahead of the first defence of her WBA World lightweight title against Chicago-based, part-time fighter Jessica McCaskill in London's York Hall tonight (Live on Sky Sport, 10pm approximately).

At yesterday's weigh-in, the Bray fighter tipped at scales at 134.1, nearly a pound under the 135 pound limit. McCaskill (33), who works full-time in the financial services sector in down-town Chicago, weighed in at 132.6 pounds.

"It's going to be a tough fight, but it's a fight that I want," said 31-year-old Taylor, who is bidding to make it eight wins on the spin since turning professional 13 months ago.

Although the bookies rank her as the 100/1 outsider, McCaskill remains upbeat about her chances in the biggest fight of her career. "We've had a great camp; we're ready to get going. If you watch an actual (Taylor) fight there are a lots of mistakes, a lot of opportunities. I plan on taking advantage of that," she promised.

This will be the very first women's boxing bout to headline a Sky Sports promotion and Taylor's only priority in front of the sell-out attendance of 1,200 is to win.

"I don't mind a boring fight, if that's what I have to do, to be honest. It's all about the win. If the knockout comes, it comes, but you definitely don't go in there pushing for it. It happens naturally," she said.

Currently rated fourth in the world lightweight rankings - two places behind Taylor - by the reputable Box Rec website McCaskill has a 5-1 pro record.

This is her first fight outside the US - indeed, all but one of her previous fights took place in the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, which was the original venue mooted for this contest.

But the decision by Sky Sports to offer her a top-of-the-bill spot prompted the Taylor camp to opt for London, which has been a happy hunting ground for her.

Nonetheless, it is unprecedented in modern boxing for a world champion to put their title on the line six weeks after winning it.

Furthermore, the York Hall venue means that Taylor has had to undertake her fifth trans-Atlantic trip since March from her US training camp in Connecticut.

But McCaskill could lack stamina. Apart from the fact that she trains part-time - she was been getting up at 4am in recent weeks to do a session before work - she has only ever boxed four rounds competitively. Taylor went the full scheduled ten rounds in her World title fight in Cardiff, though it is likely she will end today's contest before it goes to the judges.

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