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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

'I look forward to the day I step into the ring with Jessica, seriously. She hasn't left me alone!'

After a year of call-outs, Katie Taylor hopes Jessica McCaskill answers the call for a December world title showdown.

KATIE TAYLOR MIGHT not be the most verbally biting of world champions, but the new WBA World lightweight champion is certainly keen on putting the record straight with one particular rival in the not-too-distant future.

Chicago puncher and ABO American champion Jessica McCaskill [5-1, 3KOs], ranked number two by the WBA, has been calling for a scrap with the 2012 Olympic champion since Taylor turned professional, taking the mic at centre-ring following a recent victory in the Windy City demanding that Taylor meet her – and soon – in the same spot.

McCaskill’s trainer and manager, Ricardo Ramos, recently told The42 that Taylor had ‘disrespected women’s boxing’ after the Bray woman ordered her rivals to “step up,” with Taylor’s team suggesting prior to her routine victory over an outmatched Jasmine Clarkson that no other opponents had been forthcoming.

Ramos maintained that neither promoter Eddie Hearn nor manager Brian Peters had contacted him with regards to his fighter trading leather with Taylor, going as far as to suggest they had stolen McCaskill’s next opponent in Clarkson.

Taylor, who captured the WBA World lightweight title with a wide points victory over Argentina’s former two-weight world champion Anahi Sanchez in Cardiff on Saturday, confirmed yesterday that she’ll make the first defence of her strap on 15 December – a fight likely to take place in London.

Hearn and Peters both claimed at her press conference that McCaskill is now the front-runner to challenge the 31-year-old Irish sporting icon.

“Jennifer [Jessica] McCaskill – you guys might not know too much about her, but she’s been calling Katie Taylor out for about a year now”, said Hearn, “and she might get a shot herself at some point.”

“She’ll regret that,” responded Peters with a wry smile.

Taylor, as is her wont, remained somewhat magnanimous, but did go as far as to say she is keen on curtailing McCaskill and friends’ constant jibes, be it in December or otherwise.

“I’m looking forward to the day I step into the ring with Jessica, seriously,” the champion said. “She hasn’t left me alone for the last year!

“She’s a great fighter as well – it definitely will be a tough fight – but these are the fights that I want, and this is a fight that’s definitely going to interest the public as well.”


As for Ramos’ comments to The42 in which he claimed Taylor was badmouthing the sport she’s so intent on helping to build (though later qualifying his criticism by suggesting: ‘it’s not her, really – it’s her matchmakers’), the two-time Olympian was scarcely pleased.

I thought that was really unfair. I want to be involved in big fights. I want women’s boxing to get to that next level, so how can you say it’s disrespectful when you want to see the best fighting the best? That is all I was saying, really.

Katie Taylor Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“Her first choice is a lovely little lady, Jessica McCaskill, who’s talked her way into a good fight,” said Brian Peters. “I have to say: well done, Jessica.

She’s a great story – she works in the financial district in Chicago and she’s a good opponent, she’s talkative and that would be the plan. She’d certainly be our first choice.

Peters continued: “Roy Jones trains another lady, I can’t think of her name [Ikram Kerwat], who’s very good. She’s a possibility, and even when you see the likes of Roy Jones with someone, you’ve got to think she’s got to have something. Certainly, Jessica will be our first choice, and then March, April, a unification fight in Dublin would be what we’re aiming for.”

Hearn echoed Peters’ sentiments, confirming he had already reached out to McCaskill’s manager, Ramos, with a view to making the fight for 15 December. Ramos previously confirmed to The42 that he and McCaskill would be more than willing to fight in London, or anywhere in England.

“Hopefully it’s Jessica McCaskill,” said Hearn.

She has been talking it up and will look silly if she doesn’t take it now. We could build that one, there is interest in it and hopefully we could see some spite from Katie, but she is so quiet – ’til the bell goes. She won’t trash talk, but I think already she’s thinking that I would quite like to fight this girl. It’s the first time – and maybe the only time – that we might actually get a little bit of that. Her trainer talks a lot, Rico Ramos.

“She [McCaskill] said, ‘you’re saying you can’t find opponents, but I am here waiting’. I messaged Ramos last night, so we will see.”

The Matchroom director, who signed Taylor to the professional ranks just over a year ago, also confirmed that a foreign odyssey may well beckon for his newest world champion, explaining how Showtime executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza – who combined so potently with Taylor’s compatriot Conor McGregor during the summer – absorbed her in her compelling 10-round title scrap with Sanchez from his seat in Cardiff.

Incidentally, Espinoza neglected to watch every other bout other than Anthony Joshua’s World heavyweight title defence.

He [Stephen Espinoza] sat down – it was the only fight he watched apart from Joshua. He sat beside me for the whole fight and he absolutely loved it. They showed the fight on Showtime, too. Every time she fights on a Joshua card, Katie is the one they show.

“Brian Peters keeps going on about going to Boston in March. We have everything in play, but we have to come to Dublin in 2018 – there is no doubt about that. Hopefully March or April. We have America as well, but are not ruling out other countries.

“It’s all about spreading the gospel, and that fight on Saturday went out to 160 countries around the world. Everyone would have seen it. I just feel it was such a huge night for us and again going into December it’s about keeping that momentum and being in fights people want to see. I think America is wide open for it.”

Indeed, as has been the case throughout her storied career in boxing ranks both unpaid and paid, Hearn is adamant Taylor – and more pertinently, his recruitment of her elite-level talent – has already blazed a trail across the Atlantic.

“People seem to follow suit,” he said.

“We signed Katie Taylor and it was like, Golden Boy signed [Marlen] Esparza, Top Rank signed Mikaela Mayer, and BT signed Nicola Adams.

“But I feel like in women’s boxing you have novelty acts and then you have Katie Taylor. Not everyone I mentioned is a novelty act, by the way. Claressa Shields I like and boxed for a world title in her fourth or fifth fight. Savanah Marshall, she’s a good fighter too.

We signed a female fighter and others follow suit and are trying to push and promote them, but it’s like in the men’s game: some are not good enough, and some are not good to watch. Katie is excellent, so in showcasing her we have a great fighter, and as a result, a good product.

Taylor’s eighth professional opponent, be it McCaskill or otherwise, is expected to be confirmed later this week.

Subscribe to The42 podcasts here:

‘I felt like Katie disrespected women’s boxing…no one’s reached out to us at all’

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