Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Jessica “CasKilla” McCaskill and more news
By David A. Avila
About a year ago relatively unknown Jessica McCaskill challenged Ireland’s great Katie Taylor and rocked her with a Chicago style left hook. Though she lost the fight, she gained recognition.
McCaskill then challenged Argentina’s Erica Farias for the WBC super lightweight world title and much to the surprise of the boxing world was dominant in winning by unanimous decision. It was one of the biggest upsets of the year, but not for the new champion.
This year’s female “Breakthrough Fighter of the Year” is McCaskill who’s also known as “CasKilla” and has single-handedly put Chicago back on the boxing map with her aggressive boxing style.
Decades had passed when the last Chicago fighter had won a world title bout in prizefighting. But here was McCaskill, who entered the pro boxing world late at age 31, and whose day job involves working in the business suit attired banking industry, and suddenly found herself exchanging dirty blows with some of the best female fighters in the fistic world.
Amazingly she defeated Farias resoundingly in a fight that took place in Chicago on a quickly assembled mega fight card by British boxing promotional outfit Matchroom Boxing. It was also streamed nationwide by DAZN and allowed American viewers to see the explosive talent of McCaskill. Few had ever seen the lightweight prizefighter.
When an October 6 fight card at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago was announced, Rick Ramos who manages McCaskill maneuvered her into promoter Eddie Hearns fight card with the assurance of fighting anybody within two weight divisions. Anybody.
Calls went out around the world and when one world champion was unable to accommodate them another took the call. Farias, who is considered one of the elite female fighters in Argentina, eagerly accepted a fight with McCaskill in the U.S.
One small problem: would McCaskill move up in weight to the super lightweight division? The Chicago fighter quickly accepted and the fight was made.
McCaskill had never fought above the 135-pound lightweight limit, but it didn’t faze the St. Louis native who moved to Chicago for her day job and whose sudden recognition seems to have awaken the boxing consciousness of the Midwestern city. Fighting at a heavier weight was a nonissue.
With hundreds of thousands of viewers watching the streamed event McCaskill gave fans an eyeful to watch as she aggressively attacked Farias with impunity and irreverence. Triple uppercuts and left hooks rained on the Argentine fighter who had a vice grip hold on the WBC world title since 2014. Everything that Farias attempted to somehow change the momentum failed. For 10 rounds McCaskill treated the champion like just another gym invader but this time the boxing world was her witness. And what fans saw was domination by the American fighter on a champion who many had claimed was a top pound for pound fighter.
The win by McCaskill pushed her to the forefront as one of America’s new stars and also exemplified that women’s boxing differs from the men especially when it comes to willingly accepting challenges at a moment’s notice.
McCaskill is this year’s Breakthrough Fighter for 2018 and we expect to see her bust open the door for female boxing to have even greater prize fights in 2019. She’s a human battering ram for 2019.
Mexico’s Yesenia Gomez, 22, despite not winning a fight in two years clashed with world champion Esmeralda Moreno and took the WBC light flyweight world title this past September. Their first encounter in May ended in a draw and was one of the top fights of the year.
Spain’s Joana Pastrana, the 28-year-old from Madrid won the IBF minimum weight world title with a stirring win over Germany’s Oezlem Sahin by majority decision last June, then defended it against Thailand’s veteran of 45 pro fights Siriporn Taweesuk to win by knockout in the seventh round this past October.
More Female Fight News
Ayelen Granadino (4-0) won by split decision over Anyelen Espinosa (7-1) after six rounds on Saturday Dec. 22. The light flyweight match was held in Buenos Aires.
Leonela Yudica (16-0-3) defeated Yairineth Altuve (9-2) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Friday Dec. 21. The IBF flyweight world title fight took place at San Juan. It was Yudica’s seventh defense of the title and a second win over Altuve who she fought last August and defeated by majority decision.
On Saturday Dec. 29 light flyweights Guadalupe Bautista (12-10-2) and Evelyn Bermudez (10-0) meet 10 rounds for the IBF world title at Santa Fe. Mexico’s Bautista is making the first defense of the title she won by knockout of Andrea Sanchez in Argentina last May.
Lauryn Eagle (20-4-1) knocked out Ratsadaporn Khiaosopa (0-11) in the third round on Friday Dec. 21. The lightweight match was held at Bankstown, New South Wales.
Dyana Vargas (7-0) defeated Diana Dominguez (14-30) by decision after 10 rounds on Monday Dec. 17. The featherweight title fight was held in Santa Domingo.
Elhem Mekhaled (11-0) won by technical knockout in the ninth round over Marina Sakharov (5-8-2) on Saturday Dec. 22. The EBU super featherweight title fight took place at Rhone.
Estelle Mossely (3-0) won by knockout in the third round against Sylwia Maksym (2-6) on Saturday Dec. 22. The lightweight match was held in Deauville.
Megan Ouvard (4-3-2) defeated Melanie Mercier (2-4-1) by decision after eight rounds on Friday Dec. 21. The French flyweight title bout took place at La Rochelle.
Sara Corazza (5-0) beat Consolata Musanga (8-4-3) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Friday Dec. 21. The super lightweight regional title fight took place in Rome.
Natsumi Shimauma (2-1) defeated Michiko Abiru (0-2) by majority decision after four rounds on Thursday Dec. 20. The bantamweight fight was held in Tokyo.
On Monday, Dec. 24, bantamweights Tomoko Okuda (4-2-1) and Anchalee Mankong (2-3) meet in a six round fight at Sakai, Osaka.
Sofia Abraamyan (2-1) knocked out Tamar Nazarashvili (5-6) in the second round on Sunday Dec. 23. The super flyweight match took place in Moscow. Also, light flyweight Anna Levina (1-0) knocked out Lidia Sakhonchik (0-1) in the second round.
On Wednesday Dec. 26, featherweights Maja Melnkovic (8-10) and Crystal Nova (8-0) meet in a 10 round title fight at Kreuzlingen.