Eddie Hearn says ‘It’s going to spill over’ as Taylor vs Catterall KICKS OFF

The press conference for that eagerly-awaited Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall rematch provided everything we anticipated, and more.

A raucous atmosphere in Edinburgh provided by the Scottish fight fans, and bad blood on stage between two men who genuinely dislike each other.

READ MORE: Catterall aims first jab at Taylor – ‘he didn’t look too clever’

They are calling this promotion ‘Hate Runs Deep’, and that hatred has been building for two years since their first meeting in Glasgow in 2022. Taylor won that fight by a controversial split decision, and the acrimony has raged ever since.

Monday’s presser saw harsh words exchanged followed by what might be the shortest staredown in boxing history. We must have been sub 2 seconds when Catterall grabbed Taylor by the threat and all hell broke loose. Staredown over.

Hearn on Edinburgh MAYHEM

Promoter Eddie Hearn was in the middle of that melee, trying to defuse the situation. As he admitted later, it was a losing battle.

“You talk about bringing two guys together in one of the biggest fights in boxing, one of the biggest fights in British boxing history, with this kind of hatred, you are going to see that. You can try to keep people as calm as you like, but with two years of personal attacks from fans and both sides, this is just what is on the line and it’s going to spill over. 

Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall 2 Press Conference Edinburgh February 2024
Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall face off at the Edinburgh press conference to announce their April 27 rematch in Leeds (Photo – Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing).

“I’ve come late to the party, but I’ve seen it first-hand, Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton was probably the closest thing to this, where you had Joe Gallagher and Shane McGuigan, now you have Sam Jones, Top Rank, Matchroom, Josh and Jack.

“And at some point, Josh probably thought, ‘I’ve had enough of this, I’m not giving him the shot, I’m world champion, I won the fight, I’m moving on’. Whereas really, this fight should have happened instantly. It was so big and it’s still so big, April 27, Leeds is going to be packed, the whole of the UK will be watching this fight, the build-up is going to be epic, we just need to stay a little bit calm.”

While most of boxing’s superfights are now heading to Saudi Arabia – the money there is simply too good to turn down for elite fighters. Hearn believes it is important though that the big British fights happen on these shores. And also without DAZN TV viewers having to stump up a pay-per-view fee.

Not all fights should go to Saudi – Hearn

“There’s a lot of talk about these megafights going to the Middle East and Saudi Arabia are doing an incredible job of delivering the fights that sometimes we’re not getting to see. But we must make sure that the big all-British fights happen in this country, and this is a great example of a fight that everyone else wanted to do as a pay-per-view, DAZN stepped up and said ‘no, it’s part of your subscription’.

“That’s massive for us, massive for DAZN but massive for British boxing because this has got an old school feel to it. The multi-city press tour, the noise from the crowd, this is Frampton-Quigg, this is Haye-Bellew, Froch-Groves, those kinds of rivalries and they made British boxing what it is.”

Taylor or Catterall, who is favourite?

The betting odds have Taylor as the early favourite – but only just. Hearn believes it’s a fascinating sub-topic.

“It’s an interesting on who is favourite. Jack is coming in off two wins and looked good, Josh is coming in off a defeat., albeit to Teofimo Lopez. There is a suggestion that Josh might be coming towards the end of his career, but you know he’s going to be up for this fight, if you can’t get up for this fight, you aren’t going to get up for any fight.

“After today and everything that has happened in two years, the best Josh Taylor will be there on April 27, and I think the best Jack Catterall will be there too because this is must-win for both. This isn’t the undisputed championship, this is career-defining, it could be career ending for the loser.”

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