Tuesday, December 05, 2023  |



Sandy Ryan, Jessica McCaskill box to controversial draw in welterweight unification bout

Jessica McCaskill and Sandy Ryan pose after weighing in for the Matchroom Boxing card taking place on Saturday September 23, 2023 at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Fighters Network

The judges couldn’t agree on who won the fight between Sandy Ryan and Jessica McCaskill, but there was no doubt among the crowd at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Fla.

The judges scored the women’s welterweight unification bout a draw, with one judge turning in a scorecard of 97-93 for the American McCaskill, while another had it 96-94 for British fighter Sandy Ryan. The third scored it 95-95, meaning Ryan (6-1-1, 2 knockouts) held on to her WBO welterweight title and McCaskill (12-3-1, 5 KOs) retained her WBC and WBA belts.

The crowd cheered resoundingly as Ryan addressed the crowd afterwards, while booing McCaskill.

“We’ve got to run that back. I thought I was gonna be unified champion but that’s boxing, ain’t it,” said Ryan, 30, of Derby, England.

“I thought I did enough but there were times that I made it close. She’s the champion and I can’t let it be close like that again.”

McCaskill, who was in agreement with Ryan that a rematch was necessary, felt she should have won the fight.

“I feel like I made the smarter moves yes, I feel like I made her miss a lot more than the opposite. I feel like I should have got the split. I’m not saying that I won unanimous but I should have got that split,” said McCaskill, 39, of Chicago.

Ryan established her jab early, ripping a double left hook to end the round. Ryan used movement in the second round to stay at angles from McCaskill and land first and avoid the incoming. McCaskill took advantage of Ryan lingering too much in close in the third, opening up with a flurry of showy punches which drew blood from Ryan’s nose. Ryan listened to her corner’s admonition to “make it easy” in the fourth as she returned to boxing and moving to stay out of range of McCaskill’s power punches.

Ryan began to find more success with her body work in the fifth, slowing McCaskill down with a counter left hook to the body near the end of the round. Ryan landed a strong right hand in the uppercut and remained elusive, switching stances to remain at angles. Ryan hurt McCaskill with a right uppercut and left hook to the body again in the seventh, which brought out the warrior in McCaskill, who continued to press forward and look to land a big shot to turn the fight around.

Ryan felt confident enough by the eighth to stand and fight, standing in close and looking to walk McCaskill down. McCaskill began to sell out to turn the fight around but Ryan used her leverage to push her to the ropes and land power punches. McCaskill never stopped throwing, but Ryan still had the energy in the tenth to box her way to a strong close.

McCaskill was looking to bounce back after losing a unanimous decision to undisputed junior welterweight champion Chantelle Cameron, while Ryan was hoping to make an impression in her U.S. debut.

Austin Williams didn’t get the stoppage he was seeking but he did earn a win over his most experienced foe to date.

The 27-year-old middleweight prospect won a ten-round unanimous decision over Steve Rolls at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Fla. All three judges scored the fight 97-93 in favor of “Ammo” Williams (15-0, 10 KOs) of Houston, Tex., sending Rolls (22-3, 12 KOs) to his second loss in his last three fights.

Williams, who is 12 years younger than his Canadian opponent, used his straight left hand to make an impression early on, snapping his head back at times. Rolls, whose only stoppage loss was to Gennadiy Golovkin in 2019, used his experience to keep Williams on his toes down the stretch, using the straight right hand to get through Williams’ defense and land his own punches.

Earlier in the night, light heavyweight Khalil Coe (7-0-1, 5 KOs) scored his third straight knockout, stopping Kenmon Evans (10-2-1, 3 KOs) in round two of an eight-rounder. Coe, 27, of Jersey City, N.J. used right hands to bomb out his Floridian opponent.

The card is streamed live on DAZN in the United States.