Josh Taylor admits he underperformed and 'put too much pressure on himself' but insists he won the fight
Josh Taylor admitted that he put too much pressure on himself after pulling through his world title defence in controversial circumstances, but dismissed suggestions of a bad decision.
The 31-year-old from Prestonpans insisted he deserved to retain his unified light-welterweight title after a split decision verdict went his way against English challenger Jack Catterall.
The decision of the three judges to give Taylor the edge stunned experts and the vast majority of the sell-out crowd who watched Catterall deliver the performance of his life, knocking Taylor down in the eighth round.
The Scot admitted he wasn’t anywhere near his best at the sold-out Hydro in Glasgow, where he had put himself under pressure to put on a show in front of his home fans nearly three years after his last bout in Scotland.
But he insisted: “I don’t think it was a bad decision. I think it was because he did better than everyone else was expecting. Because of that people think he won the fight, but he never won the fight.
“It was a far from marquee performance from myself, but the right man won the fight. It is what it is. I scored the bigger shots and bossed it from midway through to the end.
Taylor admitted: “It wasn’t my best performance. I put a lot of pressure on myself being heavy favourite. It showed in the first half of the fight.
“But once I got my rhythm I started to catch him with the bigger shots. I kept catching him and catching him out.
“It wasn’t my best performance, but I believe I got the win 100 per cent. But Jack did very well.
“He put up a good fight, that’s for sure. But he never won the fight and he knows he never won the fight.
“In the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh rounds and second half of the fight I started taking over. It wasn’t my best performance, but I’m moving forward.”
Asked to explain why he didn’t reach the heights expected of him against a challenger rated as a long shot by the bookies, Taylor added: “I put a lot of pressure on myself, being heavy favourite, being at home again. I put pressure on myself to put on such a good show for my home fans.
“It didn’t matter in the end. I got the good result but I know I won the fight. It was close. I let him have too much success with me loading up a little bit.
“But overall I scored the bigger shots, the better shots, the more meaningful shots. So I know I won the fight. It was a little bit close, but I knew I won the fight.”
The fight was delayed due to a knee injury Taylor had sustained, and he admitted it wasn’t easy to lose the weight required while getting into shape for the contest.
“I made the weight pretty well. But it is getting harder to make that weight. That most likely will be my last weight at 140 pounds, but we’ll sit down with my team.
“I left it a little bit late as well to make the weight for that fight with the injuries and stuff. We left it late taking the weight off. Because we couldn’t take the weight off with my conditioning and running with my knee injury, so I left it a little bit late and it showed in my performance.”
Dismissing the prospect of a re-match at the same weight, Taylor said: “I don’t think there’s any need. I think I won the fight by a couple of rounds. I won it in the second half of the fight, took over and bossed it.
“He was doing a helluva lot of holding and spoiling. I think the ref taking a point off me probably hurt me a little bit, but I still won the fight.
“At my best, Jack Catterall doesn’t get anywhere near me. That was only a 60 per cent performance from me, but I still won the fight.
“I know in my heart that I won that fight, so I don’t really care what anyone else thinks.
“The only reason I’m a little annoyed is because I didn’t put on a good performance. I put far too much pressure on myself in the lead up to this fight.”