By Michael O’Neill
Recently crowned WBA Lightweight champion Katie Taylor makes her first title defence against Jessica McCaskill of the United States at the iconic York Hall in London on December 13th it has been confirmed by promoter Matchroom Boxing and Taylor’s Manager, Brian Peters
The bout will be shown LIVE on Sky Sports and in good news for women’s boxing Taylor will headline the show, a rare occurrence for women’s boxing in the United Kingdom or in Ireland.
Should Taylor win there are plans for further defences in the United States early in 2018 and in Dublin in the Spring time
The American known as ‘CasKILLA’ and her coach Ricardo Ramos have been ‘calling out’ Taylor for a fight for many months now and this bout comes as no surprise though arguably it was not expected so soon after Taylor taking the title against Anahi Sanchez at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff on
October 31st, in only her seventh Pro bout.
Hardly surprisingly Jessica McCaskill is looking forward to the fight saying that:
“This is going to be a great fight, something you won’t be able to take your eyes off.”
Katie Taylor commented: “It’s fantastic, a great opportunity and I have to thank Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports for this,” the Bray woman told Sky Sports News’ “SportsWoman” programme..
“It’s been a great year for me and this is definitely a great end to it, to fight a great fighter. It’s very exciting for me. I expect a tough, tough fight. She’s meant to be a very good opponent and I am expecting a tough challenge.
“I am so excited about headlining my first show as a professional boxer and my mindset will stay the same going into this one. I prepare meticulously for every single fight and this fight is no different, so I can’t wait to go in there and perform.”
“I’ve had the chance to box on big, big bills all year really, and this is what I’ve been dreaming of as a child really, boxing on these big nights, to be in big fights and box for world titles.
“It’s been an absolute dream. I want to be in big fights, I want to unify the division and I want to make history in this sport.
“There are so many great fights in and around the lightweight division, so I am looking forward to a bright future.”
Chicago-based McCaskill has been calling out Taylor since the latter entered the Pro ranks.
Although the 33-year-old has one less fight than Taylor as a professional but with American Golden Gloves successes as an amateur behind her, she desperately hopes to bring the WBA lightweight title back home.
“It’s been difficult getting fights since I was an amateur, but I am definitely happy to travel,” she said.
“I have a lot of respect for this sport and for Katie Taylor, but I will be bringing that belt and that respect back to the U.S with me.
“I want to be known as the No 1 in America, and of course the world title is definitely the goal. This is going to be a great fight, something you won’t be able to take your eyes off.”
Sky Sports tells us that : “A stacked undercard of talented Brits are set to support Taylor’s defence. Unbeaten super-featherweight talent Martin J Ward can add another title to his impressive collection as he faces former champion Juli Giner for the vacant European title.
Light-heavyweights Jake Ball and Miles Shinkwin will meet in a tasty contest while Birmingham’s super-bantamweight talent Gamal Yafai looks to extend his unbeaten record. Future cruiserweight rivals Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain look to further stoke the fire for a 2018 clash. Team GB Rio
Olympian Joe Cordina will be in action for the sixth time in the paid ranks.
All of Ireland celebrated Taylor’s Olympic Gold in the British capital in 2012 and she already enjoys huge support in London as at home in Bray and the rest of the country.
Not for the first time Irish fans will hope they have another great World championship title win to celebrate in the weeks’ leading to Christmas and the New Year all the more so after this week’s defeats for the Republic – and for Northern Ireland – in World Cup soccer qualifiers and the failed Irish bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid, now going to France.
Can she succeed in her quest to unify the Lightweight division? And help Irish fans at home and abroad to celebrate?
IF anyone can, Katie can. We wish her every success on 13th December in London Town – and in the years she remains in the sport.
A great ‘Ambassador’ for Ireland and for Irish sport and humble and modest with it. Long may she reign.