Sandy Ryan and Jessica McCaskill stood in the middle of the ring, their faces seemingly baffled.
That’s the best way to describe what happened Saturday night in Orlando, Florida, during the unified welterweight title fight they both had just battled through. And in the end, it was called a split draw — 97-93 for McCaskill from judge Mark Streisand, 96-94 for Ryan from judge Michael Ross, and 95-95 from Barry Lindenman.
“Nobody wants a draw,” McCaskill said in the ring after the fight. “That’s my first draw. I don’t even know how to feel about it.”
So the 39-year-old McCaskill, from Chicago, will continue to hold her WBC and WBA belts, and Ryan, the 30-year-old from Derby, England, will retain her WBO title. Both fighters talked about a rematch in the ring following the fight — a fight that appeared to have Ryan in control throughout.
Ryan (6-1-1, 2 KO) worked McCaskill’s body throughout the entire fight and often appeared to be both the more aggressive fighter and the fighter who landed the more significant punches, including a left hook to the body in the seventh round that appeared to stun McCaskill (12-3-1, 5 KOs).
McCaskill’s best round might have been the third, in which Ryan began bleeding from the nose — although Ryan’s corner was able to stop the bleeding and it was not a factor throughout the rest of the fight. McCaskill’s typical aggressive style showed in the ninth round, in which she was swinging and landing shots and combinations against Ryan, but Ryan handled the onslaught of punches well.
And unsurprisingly, after the fight, both fighters said they felt they did enough to win. It was Ryan’s first defense of her WBO title and McCaskill’s fourth defense of her WBC and WBA belts.
“I feel like I made the smarter moves, yes. I feel like I made her miss a lot more than the opposite,” McCaskill said. “So, yeah, I feel like I should have got that split. I’m not saying I won unanimous. But I should have got that split.”
McCaskill, who was booed during her postfight interview, was quick to say Ryan also felt she should have won the fight — essentially leaving neither fighter happy with the outcome. Ryan said she felt she did enough to win the fight, but that there were times “where I made it close and she’s the champion and I can’t let it be close like that again.”
“We’ve got to run that back,” Ryan said. “Jess seems to be happy to run it back. I thought I was going to be unified champion tonight, but it’s boxing, ain’t it.