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Katie Taylor vs. Jessica McCaskill – Results

By Scott Gilfoid: 2012 Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor (8-0, 4 KOs) successfully defended her WBA World Female lightweight title in beating the game Jessica McCaskill (5-2, 3 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision on Wednesday night at York Hall in Bethnal Green in London, England.

The judges scored it 97-92, 97-92 and 98-91. McCaskill, 33, fought well enough to deserve to win at least 2 rounds. McCaskill fought well in rounds 5 and 7. She landed some big left hand shots in both of those rounds, as well as a number of other rounds. However, the 31-year-old Taylor had too much hand and foot speed for McCaskill to deal with.

This was Taylor’s first defense of her WBA lightweight title, and she fought well in showing her superior boxing skills.

Everything wasn’t great for the Irish 2-time Olympian Taylor. She was hurt several times in the fight by the hard shots from McCaskill, and she did a lot of holding. Referee Howard John Foster gave Taylor plenty of warnings before he finally lost patience in round 7 and took a point away from her. The holding was often Taylor’s last ditch defensive move to try and shut McCaskill’s offense down when she could no longer escape her pressure. Taylor was moving constantly, but even with her nonstop movement, she couldn’t keep McCaskill from cutting off the ring and nailing her with big shots. Taylor hurt her own punching power by moving so much in the fight. When she would stop moving to throw shots, she was frequently so tired that she didn’t have anything on her shots. But, Taylor wasn’t the same kind of puncher as McCaskill. The power difference between the two was pretty significant. What was interesting was how McCaskill was able to make up for her lack of talent in comparison to Taylor by simply using a lot of pressure and landing the harder shots.

Taylor looked good in round 1 in landing blistering fast combinations to the head of McCaskill. The shots didn’t do anything to McCaskill though, as Taylor wasn’t setting her feet when she was firing of her punches. Everything she threw was on the run.

Taylor continued to impress in round 2, catching McCaskill with speedy combinations, and then getting away before she could land anything in return.

McCaskill increased the pressure of her attacks in round 3, and she seemed to have Taylor looking flustered and very tired. Taylor slipped and fell at point one point in the round. Taylor looked very vulnerable in the round, especially when she was eating left hooks and hard body shots from McCaskill.

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In round 4, McCaskill landed some really big punches to the head of Taylor. The shots had Taylor looking flustered. Part of the reason for that was all the wasted movement that Taylor was using to avoid getting trapped into a dog fight with McCaskill. Taylor had no ability whatsoever to stay in the pocket and fight like a well-schooled fighter. She was TOTALLY dependent on her movement to keep her out of harm’s way. As such, the 31-year-old Taylor wasted loads of energy, which cost her in taking away the little power that she had on her punches. For some reason, Taylor lacks punching power. She has speed, but the power is not there. In contrast, McCaskill showed punching power that was quite impressive, and her speed that bad either. If she had the same training Taylor has had, I could see McCaskill being a far better fighter due to her power, willingness to stay in the pocket and her calm, cool mindset. McCaskill wasn’t going to pieces mentally like Taylor was when she was dealing with pressure.

In round 6, McCaskill hurt Taylor with a beautiful left hook that had her out of sorts. Taylor’s boxing fans at ringside were stunned at that moment. The cheering stopped and you could tell that the fans were wondering what was happening to their hero Taylor. She was getting exposed by a fighter that didn’t look nearly as skilled as her in McCaskill. All the boxing skills, speed and experience that Taylor came to the ring with was meaningless. She was simply being worn down by an old school fighter from the U.S. All that training that Taylor has had was useless. I saw in that round that Taylor was not going to be a champion for long, Even if Taylor beat McCaskill, she’s not going to hold onto her title for long, because there are too many young lions just like McCaskill out there that will walk Taylor down and take advantage of her advancing age, lack of power and her bad habit of wasting energy by running around the ring nonstop to avoid the combat. Taylor doesn’t possess the mindset to be a champion. She’s too quick to dash away at the first hint of trouble.

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In round 7, referee Howard John Foster got tired of Taylor’s constant holding, so he took a point away from here. It didn’t matter. Taylor kept holding McCaskill any chance she got. Taylor had no choice but to hold. She didn’t have the ability to handle the pressure, and the left hooks that McCaskill was tagging her with were doing damage. Taylor was getting hurt from those shots.

After the point deduction, Taylor doubled her efforts and running around the ring, stalling out the fight with running and more holding. Taylor gave McCaskill fewer chances to land due to her running. Taylor looked exhausted though. All that movement had her looking like a worn out fighter. It didn’t have to be that way. If Taylor had the ability to stand in the pocket and make McCaskill miss, she could have saved herself a lot of trouble. Taylor couldn’t stay in the pocket. She doesn’t have the skills or the toughness to stand and make a fight of it. We saw that clearly. McCaskill had Taylor coming unglued mentally at the seams. In terms of toughness, Taylor is far below McCaskill.

“It was a tough fight, the toughest of my career. I knew I had to be at my best. I boxed well on the outside. I was born to do this, created to box. Whoever has the other belts, I want them all, and I want to make history in this sport.”

I don’t see Taylor winning all the belts. I see her getting beaten. There are better fighters than McCaskill in the lightweight division. If she could do this to Taylor, you can bet a more talented fighter will finish the job.

A rematch between Taylor and McCaskill would be a good fight. I doubt that’ll happen though, but it would be nice to see promoter Eddie Hearn have Taylor and McCaskill do I again. Up until now, the fighters that have been matched against Taylor looked like they were fighting for first time ever. The women looked like they had no idea what they were doing inside the ring, which made it easy for Taylor to beat them. McCaskill was completely different. She had some raw talent that more than made up for Taylor’s pedigree.

I rocked her a couple of times. It was my fault for leaving it up to the judges but the scorecards were too wide,” said McCaskill via Sky Sports.

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McGaskill appeared to hurt Taylor 3 times in the fight with powerful left hooks. To Taylor’s credit, she was able to keep from getting knocked out by holding and moving. If Taylor had stayed in the pocket, she surely would have lost the fight, because she was no match for McCaskill when she was stationary. Taylor wasn’t blessed with the power, chin or the stamina to beat a fighter like McCaskill, who simply has better physical tools than her.

Lawrence Okolie vs. Antonio Sousa – Results

In undercard action, 2016 Olympian Lawrence Okolie (7-0, 6 KOs) stayed undefeated with a 2nd round TKO win over Portugal’s Antonio Sousa (4-7-1, 3 KOs) in cruiserweight action. Okolie, 24, knocked Sousa down twice in round 1 with big power shots. Sousa wasn’t hit with anything big from Okolie, but it didn’t matter. He went down anyway. Okolie had Sousa close to being stopped in the round. Somehow, Sousa made it out of the round without the referee halting the fight.

In round 2, the lanky Okollie knocked Sousa down once again. The referee Robert Willians then stopped the fight. The official time of the stoppage was at 1:04 of round 2.

Overall, I wasn’t all that impressed with Okolie. He showed punching power, but he got hit a couple of times by shots that indicated that his defense has not improved Since he was beaten by Erislandy Savon of Cuba in the 2016. Okolie is still so green. He’s nowhere near the talent of more polished cruiserweights like Dmitry Bivol, Oleksander Gvozdyk, Artur Beterbiev, Adonis Stevenson, Marcus Browne, Sullivan Barrera, Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev. Okolie has the youth to work on improving, but I don’t have much faith that he’ll get the raining that he needs to improve enough for him to one day capture a world title at cruiserweight. If Okolie was matched up against any of the above cruiserweights right now, I don’t think he’d make it out of round 1 with any of them. Those guys are like Erislandy Savon, who clearly showed that he has Okolie’s number in their 2 fights. At this point, I see Okolie being a good domestic level fighter. That’s about as far as he’ll go in the sport in my view.

Okolie is expected to fight Isaac Chamberlain next year in a nice domestic level scrap.

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