Josh Taylor aims to put Catterall chapter ‘to bed’ and finally forget that ‘stinker’

Josh Taylor has had two long years to ponder that controversial meeting vs Jack Catterall – but on Saturday night he finally gets the opportunity to close the book.

In early 2022 Taylor (19-1) claimed a hotly-disputed points victory over Catterall (28-1) after an enthralling encounter which most pundits felt ‘El Gato’ had done enough to win.

The two years since that night have been full of continued beef between the two men, but on Saturday at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, they will run it back at last (live on DAZN).

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Taylor has spoken publicly about the abuse he and his family received after that first meeting, and since then he has also suffered his first professional defeat at the hands of Teofimo Lopez.

There is much riding on Saturday night, but the 33-year-old Scot is salivating at the prospect as he prepares for a massive showdown.

Taylor enjoying fight week

Speaking at Thursday’s final press conference, he said: “I’m enjoying the week, the press conference, all the media, it’s just another fight week and on Saturday it’s just another fight, I am looking forward to putting all this to bed and moving on with my career and proving that the last time was just an off night.

“Look at the history of boxing, all the great fighters of the past have taken defeats and come back and won World titles again. Just because you take one defeat, it doesn’t mean you are a finished fighter.

Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall Media Week Leeds DAZN Matchroom Boxing May 2024
Josh Taylor pictured ahead of his rematch vs Jack Catterall in Leeds on May 25, 2024 (Photo – Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing).

“I think that’s where boxing has taken a turn for the worse because when a fighter takes a loss everyone says ‘ah he’s finished’, and stuff like that, but in the UFC, there are fighters that have got 20 fights with 10 losses but they are still at the top of the game and still fighting, just because you take a loss it doesn’t mean that you are a bad fighter. I still feel that I am at the top of the game and on Saturday, I take care of business and I am back in the picture and winning my titles back.”

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The delay in this rematch happening is partly down to injuries suffered by Taylor, and he makes no excuses for putting his health first.

Health first for Josh

“It’s been a long two years since the first fight. We’ve been talking about it, there’s been the delays and injuries, but my health comes first, it’s paramount.

“I’d like to say thank you to you guys when I said about the postponement, for getting it done nice and quickly and only making it four weeks later. I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait for Saturday.”

While that first meeting in 2022 brought massive publicity in the aftermath of such a close fight, Taylor believes it was not a spectacle boxing should be proud of.

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“The last fight was a stinker from both of us. Jack was doing a lot of holding and spoiling, slowing the pace down, I was very poor as well. I believe the two of us can be a lot better and it will be a better fight for the fans.

“It’s going to be a barnstormer, we were in the arena on Monday and got a bit of a surprise, it’s right on top of you, so it’s going to be a great experience and atmosphere in there.”

Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall 2 Face Off Final Press Conference Leeds May 2024
Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall face off at the final press conference ahead of their rematch in Leeds on May 25, 2024 (Photo – Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing).

Catterall KO prediction

Catterall has predicted a stoppage on Saturday night – he believes Taylor’s days at elite level are coming to an end. Taylor himself though is unmoved.

“Let him think that, if he wants to do that great, absolutely fantastic, music to my ears. I don’t care how I win this fight, by points or by stoppage, the way I have been performing in the gym, the shots I’ve been throwing and catching people with, if I catch him with these shots it will be over and devastating for him.

“But we’ll see what happens, it’s just a win for me. This is must-win, this is for bragging rights, this is to say ‘I told you I am better than you’, so I can’t wait.”