Josh Taylor retains world title with controversial split decision victory over Jack Catterall
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The undisputed super-lightweight champion retained his WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts after being awarded the fight on a split decision at the Hydro after two of the three judges scored the fight in the Prestonpans puncher's favour..
Catterall appeared to be the clear winner at the end of the 12-round contest at the sold-out Hydro, controlling the fight from the start and knocking Taylor down in the eighth round.
But the three judges scored the contest 113-112 Catterall; 114-111 Taylor and 113-112 Taylor to force a split decision which went in the world champion’s favour.
“It wasn’t my best performance. I put a helluva lot of pressure on myself,” Taylor admitted. “It’s my homecoming and it’s the first time in three years [fighting in Scotland] after lockdown.
“I put pressure on myself and it showed in the first half of the fight. But once I got the rhythm I started catching him with the bigger shots. I wasn’t my best performance, bit I believe I got the win 100 per cent.”
Boxing in Scotland for the first time in nearly three years, Taylor wanted to make it a homecoming to remember but was well below his best against his 28-year-old challenger from Chorley in Lancashire.
The 31-year-old's first fight on home soil since capturing his maiden world title against Ivan Baranchyk at the same venue in 2019 was expected to be a celebration and confirmation of his status as undisputed champion.
After all, since his last fight in Glasgow, the Tartan Tornado has beaten tough opponents like Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez to clean up the division.
But the expectation seemed to get to him as Catterall settled well and found his range in the early rounds.
The Englishman, himself unbeaten but a big underdog going into the fight, dominated the first half of the contest.
With Taylor struggling to pin down his opponent and get into his rhythm, Catterall was on top from the start.
Cool, calm and collected, the Englishman stood back and landed the biggest shots round after round, his defence tight and his timing spot on.
Increasingly frustrated as the fight progressed, Taylor tried to force it and did get better as the fight wore on and descend into a scrap.
A cut started to open up beneath Taylor’s right eye after the sixth and in round eight a left hook from Catterall caught a crouching and off-balance Taylor on the side of head and knocked the champion to the canvas.
The Tartan Tornado got to his feet and fought back bravely in the ninth, digging in and landing some of his best shots.
It was a scrappy finish as the pair tired, Catterall deducted a point in the 10th round for spoiling.
Taylor himself was then deducted a point after landing a half-hearted jab just after the bell at the end of the 11th. It looked like sheer frustration with the fight and his world titles appearing to slip away.
When the contest drew to a close a round later, Catterall appeared to be the clear winner and raised both arms aloft.
He stormed to his dressingroom when the shock decision was announced, extending Taylor’s perfect record to 19 wins. It was Catterall’s first loss in 27 bouts, but he had good reason to believe he was the better boxer on the night.
Taylor was already the first-ever UK fighter to hold all four belts in his weight division, and attention will now turn to what he does next.
There will be talk of a re-match. But having only just made the weight, Taylor is expected to set his sights on stepping up a division to welterweight in a bid to become a two-weight unified world champion. Terence Crawford is the prime target.
But that is for the future. For now, he will be relieved to have emerged with his undefeated record in tact. Deep down, he will know that he got away with one.
Where can you buy WOW HYDRATE in Scotland?
WOW HYDRATE is available at major supermarkets including Morrisons and Tesco, an can be picked up at a range of convenience stores across the country, as well as Archerfield Links Golf Course, Dumfries Golf Club, Fluidity Fitness gym in Newbridge, Fight Factory Gym in Glasgow and Recovery Lounge Gym in Paisley.