All year, she and manager/trainer Rick Ramos have been expressing their wish, via social media, to face Irish gold medalist turned professional world champion Katie Taylor.
On Wednesday, December 13, they will get their wish, as Chicago-based McCaskill (5-1, 3 KOs) will challenge Taylor (7-0, 4 KOs) for her WBA Lightweight Championship at York Hall in London, England, and live before a massive audience on Sky Sports.
“I’m relieved. I’ve been working toward this fight for a long time,” said McCaskill, rated #2 in the world at 135 lbs and #1 in the United States in women’s boxing. “We have been training for this fight since my last fight because we knew it was coming and we’ve definitely bumped up the intensity.”
Before turning professional a year ago, the popular Taylor, from Bray, won lightweight gold at the 2012 London Olympics, as well as an impressive assortment of world and European amateur championships. Known as the Irish athlete of her entire generation, Taylor is regarded as a superstar in the UK because of her aggressive and crowd-pleasing style.
“I’ve never watched a full fight of hers,” professed McCaskill. “I’ve seen some highlights. I see mistakes she makes, but it’s not so much what I see in her. It’s what I see in all her opponents. They’ve all been scared of her. I am not. You won’t see any fear in me. Everybody else was terrified to engage her. They just showed up. I’ll be fighting to the last bell.”
Much of the credit for landing the fight must go to Ramos, who doggedly pursued Taylor and her promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, on social media.
“I felt like offended about comments Katie and Eddie made about how no one wants to fight her,” explained Ramos. “I remember thinking, ‘well, NO ONE called Jessica. We would love to fight Katie!’ That kind of started everything. Eddie Hearn finally did contact me via Instagram and things started getting real. I was happy that my social-media tactic worked!”
McCaskill, who also works full-time in Regulatory and Reporting at R.J. O’Brien & Associates investment bank in Chicago, says she’s not intimidated about stepping into Taylor’s home field for this fight. In fact, she’s expecting a number of her fans to be there as well.
“It’s funny because of my job and my previous investment banking job, I have a lot of contacts and friends over there who are excited to show up for me. My company I work for has a branch that is three miles from the venue.
I’ll be expecting a lot of fans there for me as well that night. It would be incredible to headline over there and to break her undefeated record and get my first world title in one night in front of them. I can’t wait!”