Lauren Price outclasses Jessica McCaskill in unanimous technical decision win to clinch historic world title


Lauren Price enhanced her glistening and ever-unfolding legacy once more as she defeated Jessica McCaskill to become Wales’ first female boxing world champion in Cardiff on Saturday night.

With a long-awaited Welsh homecoming came another commanding display from the one-time taxi driver who would go on to become Olympic champion and, now, unified IBO, WBA and Ring Magazine welterweight world champion.

The contest was brought to a halt on the advice of ringside medics at the start of the ninth round due to a nasty swollen eye that McCaskill had seemingly sustained during an earlier clash of heads, with the judges ruling the fight 90-82, 90-82, 90-82 in favour of a unanimous technical decision win for Price.

Throughout Price’s career her grandma Linda has recorded her fights before watching them back the following day. On Sunday, she will watch as the young girl she raised in Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly dominate a former undisputed champion to continue her march towards the pinnacle of the sport.

“I’m speechless. Coming out here tonight, the atmosphere has got to be up there with winning Olympic gold,” Price told Sky Sports after the fight.

“I can’t thank everybody enough, it means the world. Credit to my opponent, I respect her, she’s a credit to women’s boxing and boxing in general.

“I want to build a legacy and create greatness. This is just the start. You see what Katie Taylor did for Ireland, I want to do the same for Wales.

“I’d love to sell out the Principality Stadium, that’s the dream.”

The fight was stopped due to swelling around McCaskill’s eye

Was she ready? There had been no doubt. Price reigned as the more skilled and more dangerous operator for the duration of the fight despite the efforts of McCaskill to disrupt her rhythm.

The tone was set before a bell had even been sounded, McCaskill practically in a sprinter’s start in her corner before exploding into the centre of the ring in the opening round.

From there came little let up, McCaskill seeking to make the fight nasty on the inside and Price retaining the finesse that would grant her consistent joy behind her jab.

Price had anticipated a brawl, and was ready for as much as she willingly traded to the body on the inside before using her hand speed to unload two and three-punch combinations whenever the pair broke.

Price dominated the contest in front of a vocal home crowd in Cardiff

McCaskill soon prompted boos from around the Utilita Arena when she leaned Price into the ropes, not once, not twice, but three times, the latter of which would almost send them both over Royal Rumble style.

“I know Jessica’s game, she loves a dog fight, she came at me from round one and it took my a couple of rounds to get my distance but I found my rhythm in the end,” said Price.

“The pros are different to the amateurs, but I enjoyed myself in there. I’m only going to get better, this is only my seventh professional fight.”

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Lauren Price told Sky Sports that the dream is now to fight at a sold-out Principality Stadium in Cardiff

Price continued to see through the rough tactics, resisting temptation to be drawn in and letting her skill and accuracy do the talking.

Her footwork remained the smarter, the sharper, allowing her to capitalise on a poorly-timed lunge to send McCaskill off-balance with a passing right hook.

McCaskill began to sport a vision-impairing bubble above her eye after an unfortunate clash of heads during the fifth round, the American though underlining her toughness as she vowed to fight on with the same unwavering aggression.

Eventually the extent of the damage would tell when the ringside doctor advised that the fight be brought to a stop two seconds into the ninth, prompting an eruption of jubilation from a Welsh crowd that would crown its latest boxing superstar.

McCaskill frustrated by stoppage

McCaskill was beaten and outclassed as she surrendered her titles, but felt she should have been allowed to fight on to try and force an unlikely stoppage.

“I feel like you should let the champion go out on her shield,” she told Sky Sports.

“You give me my four minutes, you let me go all the way – not just because of me, but because that’s what boxing deserves.

“You let me go all 10 rounds, and then if it’s Lauren it’s Lauren, and if it’s not it’s not.

“Lauren is the only person who has been able to take belts from me, so congratulations to her, she’s got a bright future.

“I’m so proud of her and what’s she’s doing.”

Nelson ‘baffled’ by McCaskill approach

Price is yet to lose a round in her professional career

Price claimed history in only her seventh professional fight, but Sky Sports‘ Johnny Nelson was surprised by the ease of the victory over a seasoned opponent.

“What baffled me was McCaskill didn’t throw one jab,” he said.

“How have you been so successful fighting like that? There is a difference between being unorthodox and being awkward.

“To be unorthodox, that’s a skill. She was just trying to be awkward to make it rough and get you into an awkward situation.

“Lauren stuck to the basics…and to this point now, from turning professional, she’s not lost one round and she’s a world champion. That’s some achievement!”

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