<
>

Katie Taylor aims to silence Jessica McCaskill in first lightweight title defence

Katie Taylor and Jessica McCaskill square off after weighing in at the Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch, London, ahead of their WBA Lightweight World Title fight. Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Katie Taylor aims to silence the social media taunts of Jessica McCaskill in a first defence of her world lightweight title on Wednesday.

The Irish boxer turned professional a little over a year ago but raced to winning a world title in her last fight, a unanimous points win over Argentina's Anahi Sanchez for the WBA belt on Oct. 28.

Taylor (7-0, 4 KOs), 31, will have her sixth fight of 2017 when she faces McCaskill (5-1, 3 KOs), 33, from Chicago, at the compact York Hall in London's Bethnal Green after the challenger doggedly called for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist to fight her.

"If she's as relentless in the ring as she is on social media it should be a great fight," said Taylor.

"I'm more than happy to give her the opportunity and I certainly won't be avoiding anyone as a champion.

"Trash talking is not really my thing but she seems to be happy to talk enough for the both of us anyway.

"Maybe it's something she feels she has to do for her own confidence but none of that stuff matters once the first bell rings. I'm happy to let my boxing do the talking and that's definitely where I express myself best.

"I've only known about her for calling me out. But she's tough, she's strong and she's here to win and it's definitely going to be a very exciting fight. But I'm prepared for what ever comes my way. It doesn't affect my mind set at all [McCaskill's comments on social media], it is part and parcel of the pro game.

"It has been an incredible year so far. I love the fact that I'm kept busy and I have all these big fights lined up. This sets me up to end the year on a high. My dream is to unify the division. I'm not looking past Wednesday, my aim is to win to set me up nicely for a big, big year in 2018."

Plans for Taylor to box in her homeland for the first time as a professional have been put back until 2018 and there are some exciting options for her should she take care of business in London this week.

Fights against English boxers Chantelle Cameron (5-0, 4 KOs) and Natasha Jonas (3-0, 3 KOs), American Mikaela Mayer (3-0, 2 KOs) or against rival world champions such as Belgium's Delfine Persoon (39-1, 16 KOs) are all targets for 2018.

And McCaskill, rated America's best women's lightweight, will have to pull off a huge upset to ruin promoter Eddie Hearn's plans for Taylor.

But McCaskill is not short on hunger. The American's daily routine involves starting work at 6am at a Chicago investment bank, training at lunchtime and then again from 4pm. For her last fight, she even put up posters for the event.

Taylor, however, is a full-time boxer who trains in Connecticut and looked sensational in her last fight, when she showed an array of fast combinations. Taylor has also had as many fights this year as McCaskill has in her professional career of over two years and expectations are that the Irish boxer will be too sharp.