Sandy Ryan knows from personal experience to never judge an opponent by one bad performance.
The reigning WBO welterweight titlist has sought to challenge lineal 147-pound champ Jessica McCaskill for quite some time. That desire came long before Ryan claimed a belt of her own and predated McCaskill’s points loss to undisputed junior welterweight queen Chantelle Cameron last November 5 in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m not going off the Chantelle Cameron fight as I think she had a bad night,” insisted Ryan ahead of their upcoming unification bout this weekend. “I’ve had a bad night and I don’t think anyone would look at me with that performance.
I can see that there’s some bad habits from that fight, but she will be training her heart out for this fight because if she loses, it’s her last fight, she’ll have nothing, no belts.
“That’s why I am making sure I am fully prepared. She’s going to see, isn’t she? I don’t need to say much, we’ll see on Saturday night, just be ready, keep the belts warm for me.”
Derby’s Ryan (6-1, 2KOs) puts her WBO belt on the line, while Chicago’s McCaskill (12-3, 5KOs) risks her lineal championship and unified WBC and WBA titles in their upcoming unification bout. Their scheduled ten-round contest serves as the lone championship fight as part of a Richardson Hitchins-Jose Zepeda DAZN show this Saturday from Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida.
The bout marks the U.S. debut for Ryan, a decorated amateur standout who has won three straight since her lone defeat. The 30-year-old Brit dropped a ten-round, split decision to former titlist Erica Farias in her lone career defeat last March 12 in Nottingham, England. Ryan outpointed Farias in their immediate rematch last August 6 in Sheffield, England.
In her most recent start, Ryan dominated Marie Pier Houle over ten rounds to win the WBO belt that was stripped from McCaskill earlier this year. McCaskill has not fought since her loss to Cameron at her old weight in the 140-pound division, where she previously held two titles.
This is just massive for me,” said Ryan. “Jessica is up there, she is on the pound-for-pound list and that’s where I want to be, so I need to beat girls like her to be where she is. I really respect Jessica as a fighter, and you’ll see that this week with the shape that I am in and the mentality that I have. I remember watching her against Katie and she’s done so well since then, she’s always been in the big fights, and she’s won most of them.
“She’s tough, she’s going to come with everything, she’s never been stopped and she knows the pro game because she’s been in it a long time so she knows all the tricks, but I feel that with my ability I am at another level to her.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox