WBC champion Jessica McCaskill and WBA champion Anahi Sanchez clash Saturday in Oxon Hill to unify 140-pound titles
Last October inside Wintrust Arena, it initially felt like only a few small patches throughout the crowd made their way out to Chicago’s Near South Side to attend ‘Worlds Collide’ – the inaugural US event presented by DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA – to see Jessica McCaskill. But the gutsy Super Lightweight, in just her eighth professional bout, fought her heart out like she was the A-side of the evening’s main event.
I’m always hungry for something because I don’t do this for nothing… – Jessica McCaskill
She fiercely chipped away at the 26-win WBC champion Erica Farias round after round en route to a wide unanimous decision victory. After hearing a title challenger’s favorite phrase “And a new…”, soon after climbing down the stairs from the ring and making her way, just a few steps into the hometown crowd, along the metal partition a proud mom, a rugged newly-crowned champion, and a green belt with gold adornments shared an extended celebratory embrace.
McCaskill represented one of the only Chicago natives featured on the card.
Back in December 2017 Team CasKilla boldly traveled to the United Kingdom to challenge one of the consensus pound-for-pound fighters in women’s boxing in then WBA Lightweight champion Katie Taylor. McCaskill displayed a similar grit, but exited the ring with a far different result. Taylor’s margin of victory was nearly identical to that of McCaskill’s upset win versus Farias.
Following the big hometown win, McCaskill remained ready for action, but opportunity regularly failed to keep up its end of the bargain.
“It’s always great to be told that you are fighting. Last year I was told I was fighting then I’m not fighting, it was rough. Knowing that you have a fight coming up, especially a really big one, lights a fire under you and even the team around you.
This Saturday McCaskill hits the road to tackle another lofty challenge. The assignment – a major attraction on another Matchroom Boxing card – is experienced WBA champion Anahi Sanchez (19-3, 11 KOs) on the undercard of Lightweight contender Devin Haney’s DAZN debut in Oxon Hill, Maryland at MGM National Harbor.
In any fighter’s ninth fight a unification bout, and second championship fight in three bouts, might seem daunting. However, with the ongoing resurgence in women’s boxing, and at 34-years old McCaskill is chomping at the bit.
“Rick said that we would be on a fast pace from day one, this will be my ninth fight and it’s a unification – that’s kind of crazy but we’re going to go with the flow and I am ready for this,” said McCaskill.
Despite her return to the ring failing to happen according to her timetable, McCaskill’s preparedness never waned due to her internal drive paired with her bond with her gym – and the loyalty among all of its members.
“I don’t have a camp, we’re always in the gym, it doesn’t matter when it is, there is always someone fighting, if it’s not me with a fight coming up someone else does and it’s my obligation to help them. For my own well-being and my own career, I want to be in the gym and focusing on training and improving.
“It’s like clockwork in the gym and it gives me an advantage as my mind is always ready to fight. I’m always hungry for something because I don’t do this for nothing – I want the belts, I want the big fights, I want to unify and I want to be undisputed.
McCaskill and Sanchez fight to unify their titles amid some important DAZN/Matchroom Boxing business. Newly signed Heavyweight Michael Hunter’s continues to solidify his position among the division versus Fabio Maldonado, and the night marks the US debut of Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic versus Heavyweight Greg Corbin. And the main event features young game-changer Haney in his first bout under the Matchroom Boxing banner, as the 20-year old faces veteran Antonio Moran.
Photos by Lewis Ward/Matchroom Boxing