Lauren Price becomes Wales’s first female world champion boxer

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Lauren Price claimed the WBA, IBO and Ring Magazine welterweight world titles with a comprehensive victory over Jessica McCaskill in Cardiff.

The fight was called off two seconds into the ninth round, with McCaskill unable to continue because of a swollen eye.

Because of a head clash, the decision went to the judges’ scorecards and Price was a clear winner on all three following a boxing masterclass from the Welsh fighter.

“I believe this is just the start,” Price said after her victory at the Utilita Arena. “I want to come back here and create a legacy. She came at me from round one and it took me a while to get my distance, but I enjoyed myself and I’m only going to get better. I want to fight at the Principality Stadium, that’s the dream.”

Price was competing in only her seventh professional fight after a stellar amateur career that brought Olympic gold in Tokyo three years ago. The former international footballer’s target was to become Wales’s 14th world champion – and the first female – on a night when home fans turned out in force.

The challenger, Price, almost 10 years younger than her American opponent, entered the ring to Dafydd Iwan’s anthem Yma O Hyd before the playing of the Welsh national anthem rose the atmosphere to fever pitch.

No one could doubt McCaskill’s pedigree, with the Chicago resident having unified two divisions in her career and boasting more world title bouts on her CV than Price had pro fights.

McCaskill was also unbeaten at welterweight, but defeat to Chantelle Cameron and a draw with Sandy Ryan in her previous two contests had raised questions about a fighter four months away from her 40th birthday.

There was clear respect between the pair in the opening stages, but the tempo rose as McCaskill roughhoused Price and the American was caught with a good punch as the bell sounded at the end of round two.

McCaskill was spoken to by the referee, Michael Alexander, in the third after pushing Price back to the ropes again, with the crowd clearly unimpressed by the American’s antics. Price was starting to relax, landing some venomous punches while moving in and out of range well, and swelling began to appear around McCaskill’s right eye.

McCaskill was under serious pressure as the fight reached the halfway point, with Price clearly targeting the American’s swollen eye. A welt was also growing out of McCaskill’s left eye and Price continued to land counter-shots, with the American walking on to accurate punches.

The doctor was called in to examine McCaskill’s eye at the end of the seventh, but the fight continued with no shift in the balance of power until it was eventually called off.

Price can now move forward and target lucrative matches, with the English pair Cameron and Ryan high on her list.

Rhys Edwards was crowned the new WBA Intercontinental featherweight champion with a unanimous points decision over Thomas Patrick Ward.

Hughie Fury – cousin of the world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury – continued his comeback with a second-round stoppage of Germany’s Patrick Korte.

Fury was fighting for the second time in three weeks following a six-round points victory over Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko, having been out of action for three years due to health issues.

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