Eyes were fixed on Matchroom Boxing‘s latest US venture in the early hours of Sunday morning as Sandy Ryan looks to unify the welterweight division against Jessica McCaskill while Conor Benn also returned to the ring after 17 months.
Ryan was however only awarded with a split-decision draw on the night, despite many feeling she had done enough to have her hand raised, while Benn was forced to endure the full ten-round distance against Mexico’s Rodolfo Orozco.
The latter weighed-in at 153lbs in the shadow of his ongoing case with UK Anti-Doping for two failed tests taken last year.
‘Unfinished business’ for Ryan after split draw in Florida
Five months after claiming the vacant WBO welterweight title – once held by McCaskill – Derby’s Ryan looked to add the WBA and WBC belts against the American.
And it looked as though she had done just that after dominating McCaskill over ten, only for judge Mark Streisand to hand in a bizarre scorecard which awarded McCaskill seven of the ten rounds.
Barry Lindenman’s 95-95 card wasn’t much better, while Mike Ross, who adjudged Ryan a 96-94 winner, was arguably generous to award four rounds in McCaskill’s favour.
While the latter often caught the eye with winging shots on the front foot, a large majority of them failed to land on the target.
Ryan meanwhile looked sharp throughout with precise blows to head and body, refusing to allow McCaskill room for success on the inside.
Both fighters immediately expressed their desires for a rematch before the end of the year, perhaps on UK soil, with Ryan rightly feeling aggrieved about not getting the decision on the night.
Benn unable to halt a rugged Orozco
Four days after the controversial announcement that he would be making a return, Benn ran out a comfortable winner over ten rounds against a stubborn Orozco in Florida.
The rounds will no doubt be of value after his 17-month hiatus from the ring due to the ongoing case with UK Anti-Doping for two positive tests for banned substance clomiphene last year.
UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control are in the process of appealing a National Anti-Doping Panel decision which ruled in favour of Benn at the end of July.
Despite the ongoing proceedings, Benn and promoter Eddie Hearn are said to be targeting a middleweight showdown with Chris Eubank Jr in December.
The pair were initially set to meet in October last year before news of Benn’s failed tests broke, forcing the bout to be cancelled at the eleventh hour.