“I am looking forward to get in the ring, see you in the middle.”
Perhaps not the fighting talk you would expect from a champion boxer, but with a flawless record of 16-0 and as holder of the WBC and IBF belts at 63.5 kilograms, actions speak louder than words for Chantelle Cameron as she prepares to face Jessica McCaskill in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 5.
The two will meet for the undisputed super-lightweight world title at Etihad Arena as part of the highly anticipated Dmitry Bivol versus Gilberto Ramirez card put on by Matchroom Boxing and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
The British boxer will put both her titles on the line when she goes head-to-head with McCaskill (12-2), herself a current undisputed champion in the 67-kilogram welterweight division, holding the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF belts.
For this fight, the 38-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, will drop down in weight to seek belts in the super-lightweight division.
“For me, the tougher my opponent the better I am. I am not taking McCaskill lightly. I don’t take any opponent lightly, everyone is a threat,” said the 31-year-old Cameron. “I think it is disrespectful if I didn’t put in the work thinking I was going to win a fight. I treat everyone the same, but someone like McCaskill who is undisputed at 147 pounds (67 kilograms) has all my respect as she has done something I haven’t achieved yet and she’s in my way to achieving that.”
“So, in my head it is all or nothing. My mindset is I am in with someone who is arguably the favorite for this fight, and it motivates me,” she added.
“I refuse to lose and I got no quit in me.”
Cameron reiterated that although this is the biggest challenge of her career, she has been preparing for it and pressure is not a problem. The Northampton fighter, having fought in Las Vegas and headlined at the O2 in London, knows that being relaxed is one of her biggest assets in the game.
“I headlined the O2 with Mary McGee and took her belt, so it shows I can handle pressure at the highest level. I am quite a chilled person, so it all goes over my head really, just get focused and get in the fight zone. Nothing can really phase me — big arenas, big crowds, big events, big fights. I have one job to do in there and that’s win,’ she said confidently.
“‘I feel the pressure should be more on McCaskill.”
This is a fight Cameron has had on her mind since she won the IBO world title in 2017, and McCaskill and her team started calling her out.
“I said I will fight her. My team at the time simply said to ignore them. They are just trying to get a fight, as I was quite new to the game. I listened to my team and she made it out I was ducking her,” said Cameron.
McCaskill vacated her own super-lightweight belt soon after to fight Cecilia Braekhus and successfully take the undisputed welterweight crown. She later defended the title against Braekhus.
“Yeah, but one thing I have never done is run from a fight. If anyone wants to fight, I will be there and take the fight,’ Cameron said.
“This fight camp has been really different but fun, I can’t give too much away though,’ the Briton said, hinting at the hard work and preparation that has gone into facing her hardest opponent to date.
“I think her (McCaskill’s) game plan is always the same, but the difference is she’s against someone who can push her, and I have a good work rate, I don’t think she can adapt,” said Cameron. “She can’t outbox me. She will come at me and she will try to overwhelm me but I don’t think it will happen.”
Cameron was keen to thank Eddie Hearn and promoters Matchroom Boxing for making the fight happen, highlighting their efforts to lead the way in women’s boxing, particularly in the Middle East, with fights in Saudi Arabia and now Abu Dhabi.
“I am looking forward to the experience of fighting in Abu Dhabi. I think a lot of fighters would love the opportunity to fight in the Middle East, so I am grateful for the opportunity. The arena looks unbelievable, and I can’t wait to fight in it.”
In 2019, Cameron publicly announced her split from Barry McGuigan’s team, accusing the former champion boxer’s gym of having an atmosphere of intimidation and humiliation, with “no time for a female boxer.”
She now believes she has a better team.
“I can’t name better men than Jamie (Moore) and Nigel (Travis),” Cameron said. “I think that it shows in your career when you got those type of people around you. It gives me such confidence in the ring. They are great coaches, making sure I hit peak at the right time and don’t burn out. I couldn’t praise them enough. And just as people, they treat you like family. It is just so much better now.”
Cameron said her struggles, including not making the cut for the Olympics, has made her more determined.
“It will mean everything to me to win this, all the blood, sweat and tears have been for this,” said Cameron. “I will be proud that I did it and did it for my family and my team. I may be the one taking the punches, but we did it all together, we went through this all and we did it. So many times I have felt I am never going to make it, it’s too hard, I am not getting the opportunities and just feeling sorry for myself.
“But now that the chance is here, I think well I better bloody win it after all that whining, what was it for? It’s here now. I can’t let it slip by.”