Josh Taylor took a split decision win over Jack Catterall in Glasgow, with the heavy favorite nearly seeing his undisputed championship reign end in his first defense.
Taylor (19-0, 13 KO) had a much rougher time than a -1300 favorite was expected to have, winning on scores of 113-112 and 114-111 his way, and the other card going 113-112 in Catterall’s favor. Bad Left Hook unofficially scored the fight 114-111 for Catterall (26-1, 13 KO), and the consensus around the internet and social media does seem to be that Catterall got a bad break here, but the internet’s consensus doesn’t count.
Taylor was also dropped in the eighth round, at which point he appeared to really be under pressure. He did fight with sincere urgency from that point on, and even with it being clear he was not at his best in this fight — there was concern about how he looked at Friday’s weigh-in, and that seems valid now — you have to credit him for fighting his guts out down the stretch to make an argument for himself.
The arguable star of the fight was referee Marcus McDonnell. To be fair to McDonnell, this was a rough, chippy fight, definitely plenty of ruggedness from both guys. McDonnell dished out several. But he was perhaps overly involved in terms of the amount of warnings. He took a point from Catterall in the 10th round, which may have been undeserved, but he also took a point from Taylor at the end of the 11th round, which I thought was definitely undeserved. There will be a lot of jawing about McDonnell, and I get that, but devil’s advocate and all that, it was definitely a messy, tough fight with plenty of fouling, head clashes, rabbit punches, etc.
“I thought I started a little slow, but once I got into my rhythm and got my timing, I was catching him with the bigger shots,” Taylor said. “He caught me with a couple good shots, too, I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t my best performance. I put a hell of a lot of pressure on myself. It was my first time fighting at home in three years. It showed in the first half of the fight, but once I got my rhythm, I was catching him with the bigger shots. It wasn’t my best performance, but I believe I got the win, 100 percent. But Jack did very well.”
Taylor again said he just put too much pressure on himself as a way of explaining a rough night. “It was close, and I let him have too much success. But overall I scored the bigger shots and the better shots and the more meaningful shots.”
“He put up a good fight, that’s for sure, but he never won the fight, and he knows he never won the fight,” Taylor said on Catterall.
CompuBox saw Catterall land 120 of 525 (23%) total punches, and 81 of 267 (30%) of his power punches. Taylor was at 73 of 306 (24%) overall, and 57 of 179 (32%) on power shots. Catterall out-worked and out-landed Taylor on the punch stats, but the stats don’t count for scoring round by round, of course. Taylor did land more body shots, 31-18, with Catterall out-jabbing him, 39-16.
It’s going to be a brutally hard pill for Catterall to swallow, and while it will be no immediate consolation to him, he absolutely raised his stock tonight. He was seen as a pretty good fighter, borderline top 10 at 140 lbs, but unproven in big fights.
He’s now had a big fight and he showed plenty. He is definitely a contender at 140.
Taylor vs Catterall highlights
Undercard highlights and results
- Robeisy Ramirez TKO-3 Eric Donovan: A weird fight to make in some ways. Donovan (14-2, 8 KO) is really a fine, skilled boxer, a longtime amateur standout for Ireland, but on paper, everything he does, Ramirez (9-1, 5 KO) does better. And that’s about what we got here. Ramirez dropped Donovan with a left hand in the opening round, and finished things off with a couple shots that knocked the 36-year-old wobbly in the third, with referee Victor Loughlin stopping what had been a one-sided fight. Donovan’s a good boxer. Ramirez was a two-time Olympic gold medalist and when dialed in, has top-level ability. That showed here.
- Nick Campbell TKO-7 Jay McFarlane: Well, listen, this was not good, but it was damn sure entertaining, and Nick Campbell (5-0, 5 KO) becomes the first BBBofC Scottish Area heavyweight champion since 1951. McFarlane (12-6, 5 KO) is quite a character, and also a tough SOB, as he took a battering in this fight and just kept trying. Both of these guys were plum out of gas by the fourth round or so, and from there it was just about who might fold first. Neither really did, but while McFarlane had a small opening with some body shots that hurt Campbell, it was Campbell who came back and did the more consistent damage, and the referee had no choice but to step in. It was not high level but hats off to these lads, they left it all in there. Campbell is a 32-year-old former rugby player and isn’t exactly a serious heavyweight prospect, but this fight was something he can be proud of. A war at its level.
- Paddy Donovan TKO-6 Miroslav Serban: Donovan goes to 8-0 (6 KO) with another win that didn’t really test him at all. Serban (13-9, 7 KO) was tough enough to hang around, but that’s it. The fight was stopped because of a cut on Serban’s ear. It didn’t need to be stopped, probably, but it’s not any outrage that it was, Serban hadn’t won a round and that was the final round of the fight. I’m with the field that thinks the 23-year-old Donovan could use at least a slightly tougher test as soon as his next fight. Not saying step up up to a top 40 guy at 147 even, but better than this.
- Ebonie Jones D-6 Eftychia Kathopouli: Referee saw this one even, 57-57, so it’s a draw. I’d have probably nicked to Jones, who is now 1-0-1 (0 KO), on a score of 58-56, but it is what it is and all that. Kathopouli is now 4-3-1 (0 KO). This one could happen again, Jones is still raw and definitely had her inexperience exposed a bit in a couple rounds, but she still has real potential — moves well, can certainly tighten up her defense, looks natural in the ring.
- John Docherty KO-2 Jordan Grant: Both light heavyweights fought a week ago in the same town at the same venue, Grant on Friday the 18th, Docherty on Saturday the 19th. This was a skill mismatch. Docherty (12-1, 9 KO) still has high hopes, a 24-year-old Scottish southpaw whose lone loss came to Jack Cullen, which is a fight he says he’s learned from, as he no longer is trying to force knockouts. This one came pretty naturally, a body shot followed up by a little left hand on the chin as Grant (4-2, 0 KO) was on his way to the canvas.