Katie Taylor earns hard fought victory in her first world title defence

Andrew Irvine

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WBA lightweight world champion Katie Taylor- By Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 (Flickr)
WBA lightweight world champion Katie Taylor- By Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 (Flickr)

Katie Taylor successfully defended her WBA lightweight world championship against Jessica McCaskill in an impressive, yet far from straight forward win. The bray native headlined her first show at York Hall in London, live on sky sports, in what was just her eight fight. Taylor won on all three judge’s scorecards 97-92, 97-92 and 98-91, in a unanimous decision.

McCaskill had been built up as Taylor’s most dangerous test to date, and she proved her a worthy challenger. Chicago born McCaskill had dangerous spells, landing big shots on Taylor throughout the contest. Taylor, however, won the fight with a consistent flow of combinations that separate her from a vast majority of her competition.

 

The American clearly won a couple of the middle rounds, but Taylor finished stronger and used her hand-speed to keep McCaskill at bay. Round five was arguably Taylor’s best round, as she dictated the pace and stopped her opponent from imposing her head hunting style on the fight.

However, McCaskill kept the pressure on 31 year-old Taylor and noticeably hurt Taylor for one of the first times in her professional career in the sixth round. The seventh was also a problem for Taylor as she failed to regain her momentum and was deducted a point for holding. Taylor did end up earning her victory by winning the final three rounds, controlling the distance and not allowing her opponent to hurt her like she did in the sixth. It was only Taylor’s eighth fight, and her first defence of the world title she won in the Millennium Stadium in October.

Taylor has indicated that she seeks to unify her division and win every world title available before she is done fighting. The most dangerous challenge remaining for her is Delfine Persoon, who 39-1 as a professional. Belgium’s Persoon is the current WBC lightweight champion and a fight between her and Taylor could truly be a 50/50 fight.

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Andrew Irvine