Hellraiser Boxing News | Taylor vs McCaskill Full Card Review
Hellraiser Boxing's review from the York Hall show headlined by Katie Taylor's WBA title fight with Jessica McCaskill.
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From York Hall, Adam Thorn
A packed York Hall was treated to a bumper Christmastime feast of festive fistic fury on Matchroom's show last night, as Katie Taylor headlined for the first time, defending her WBA women's lightweight world title. The cancellation of the Bellew vs Haye II card meant a few undercard fights were brought forward four days, meaning the midweek marathon had ten bouts, four of which were ten rounds or more. A whole host of Hellraisers were in attendance, including Mickey Helliet, Konrad Stempkowski and Asinia Byfield, no doubt keeping tabs on Josh Kelly and Ted Cheeseman. Cheeseman called out Byfield earlier this year, and a 2018 clash between the two would be mouth watering.
In the main event, Taylor, making history a woman headlining in a world title fight on these shores, took on Chicago's tough Jessica McCaskill. The American wasted no time trying to rough the champion up, using her heard and plenty of trench warfare tactics, not all of them legal, to force Olympic gold winner Taylor into fighting a fight she didn't need to. The rough approach was effective in places, much to the boisterous crowd's chagrin, and despite taking some clear rounds, Taylor did meet McCaskill on her terms in places, to her detriment.
In the seventh Katie had a point deducted for holding, and although Jessica had been doing so too, Taylor had been shaken by the power of the challenger, and needed respite to clear her head. Going into the eighth, this writer's card had Taylor only a round up, with the point deduction levelling the scores (60-60). Taylor regained focus, though, and went back to her flashy combination punching, then using her far superior foot and head movement to avoid the onrushing McCaskill.
As stylists of the beautiful science go, Taylor and McCaskill are chalk and cheese. Taylor's artful precision the Dolly the sheep to McCaskill's blunt and brutal Frankenstein's monster. Down the stretch, as she had in the early rounds before McCaskill's forcefulness dragged Taylor out of her rhythm, Katie controlled the fight, and began, surley, to pull away on the cards. McCaskill was unrelenting in her attacks. In rounds nine and ten (women's championship fights are ten by two minute rounds) Jessica began to look unsteady on her feet as her efforts were rewarded with a flurry of leather as she swiped at air. “Ole!” rang out from the crowd and York Hall rewarded the final bell with rapture, as Taylor was given the scores 97-92, 97-92, 98-91 and retained her belt.
Before the main event, the East London venue, famed for its atmosphere, was at capacity from almost the opening bout, and remained so until the final bell of the night. Well supported Martin Ward's tilt at the vacant EBU super featherweight title preceded Taylor's fight, he faced experienced Spaniard Juli Giner, who was not without fans of his own in the crowd. Giner, the shorter, stockier man, had repeated success with his counter left hook, but Ward took everything well and more than returned fire. His range being his most important asset. Eventually Ward's power punches landed and in the sixth Giner was dropped, twice, before referee Massimo Barrovecchio waved it off.
Fight of the night surely was Conor Benn's up and downer against Frenchman Cedrick Peynaud, the away fighter had never been stopped, and Benn came for him at the first bell, shockingly being dropped badly himself twice in the opening round. The venue, which was still a little subdued having sat through ten tepid rounds of Jake Ball's WBA Inter-Continental light heavyweight points win over Miles Shinkwin, suddenly sat up and found their voices.
Benn did well to recover from the knockdowns, and had no real choice other than to return fire, given the short distance of the contest. The six rounder went back and forth until eventually Benn levelled the knockdown count in the fifth and despite both men looking in trouble a number of times, when Benn felled Peynaud yet again in the sixth, the feeling was that he had done enough. A score of 57-54 to Benn drew a brief boo, but really only by way of showing support to Peynaud's effort. An unbelievable eighteen minutes of drama you just can not find in other sports.
Also on the card Josh Kelly was the bigger, more skilful man against Jean Michel Hamilcaro, eventually breaking him down in the sixth round. Ted Cheeseman was dominant but could not stop game Tony Dixon, Cheeseman took all eight rounds on the cards. Lawrence Okolie was rangier, busier and more accurate against flat footed and hefty looking Antonio Sosa. Sosa was halted in the second. Joe Cordina unloaded from the start on Lee Connelly, eventually forcing an end after the referee missed Connelly's corner throw the towel in. Gamal Yafai stopped Ricky Starkey in three and Felix Cash did the same to Greg O'Neil in the opening stanza.
Posted: 14th Dec 2017
NEXT UP: The Power and The Glory
2nd Feb 2019 16:00 - 23:00, York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, E2 9PI
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