Josh Taylor weighing up U-turn and reveals his Jack Catterall re-match thoughts
Undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor is poised to make the biggest decision of his boxing career this month.
The 31-year-old revealed in the aftermath of February's controversial victory over Jack Catterall that his 19th consecutive triumph would be his final outing as a 140lbs fighter.
A move up to welterweight (147lbs), the so-called glamour division of the sport, appeared set in stone.
However, the Prestonpans puncher admits he is having second thoughts and could now be on the cusp of performing a dramatic U-turn that would see him defend his WBO, WBC, WBA and IBF belts.
Taylor has taken time out to reflect on a turbulent six weeks since his split decision victory over Chorley's Catterall at the Hydro. With many promoters, pundits, and boxing fans believing 28-year-old Catterall, who dropped Taylor to the canvas in the eighth round, had done enough to pull off a shock win in Glasgow, the backlash the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has endured has been off the scale. There was even an internal investigation by the British Boxing Board of Control that resulted in judge Ian John-Lewis, who scored the bout 114-111 in favour of the Scot, being downgraded.
The Tartan Tornado is receptive to the idea of going glove-to-glove with Catterall again – at 140 or 147lbs – but will sit down with his team to discuss his next move.
He is very much a wanted man but is in control of his own destiny. However, the WBA has already ordered a mandatory ensuring that if Taylor does elect to stay at super lightweight, he will have to fight whoever the sanctioning board put in front of him or he runs the of risk being stripped of the title.
“I really don’t know what I'll do yet,” Taylor explained. “I’ll need to have a good chat with my trainer Ben Davison and my team and see what happens to see if we can do it safely or approach things differently if I stay at 140.
“If not then I’ll move up but more likely I’ll step up for fresh challenges and a new start. I’m 31 and I’ve been making the same weight since I was 21.
“It’s getting harder in between fights and that last one proved really hard. You saw the state of me on the scales and the performance I put in was way below par. We’ll see what happens.
“I’ve not spoken to my management yet. They’ve given me a break so I’ve been ticking over. I’ve got to speak to Ben to see what we’ll do next.
“I’d like to give Jack a rematch to really fill him in and perform at my best. I want to shut everyone else up. I felt I did just enough to win the fight. It was my poorest performance since the 2014 Commonwealth games. My career has just been going up and up and I think I had a little bit of a lack of motivation for the fight because I had other goals and other things I wanted to do.
“I want to put it right, though, and put it to bed and make sure I'm still the best division and the best in the world. If I stay at 140 the WBA have already called in a mandatory. So that has to happen next otherwise I get stripped of a title.
“If I stay there’s no way I’m giving up any of the belts. I would have to do the WBA then WBC then the WBO as all the mandatories start to come in so I've not really got a choice who I box if I stay at 140."
It's a decision he will have to reach sooner than later before putting his career on the back burner over the summer. It's little more than two months until he ties the knot with childhood sweetheart, Danielle Murphy, in Dumfries and Galloway. Taylor was still feeling the effects of his stag weekend in Aberfeldy yesterday, but insisted the time away has done him the world of good.
“Now is the time to live my life a little and focus on some normal things," he said. “I actually only took two weeks off after the Catterall fight so I’m still in good shape. I’ve not put on too much weight like the last time when I put on quite a bit. I was walking around with a belly!
“It was great to go up north with my mates last weekend. I caught up with them after the fight but it was good to get away with them for two days. I’m looking forward to the big day in June. I think I’m more excited than Danielle is. She’s been doing all the organising so I’ve just got to make sure I show up on the right day.
“I don't think I'll fight again until at least October. I’ve had my stag then there's the wedding and the honeymoon after that. I want to give myself enough time to get ready for a fight. I’ve been ticking over the last couple of weeks just to keep myself going. I’ve not been back this week as I’m still slightly hungover and tired from the weekend!”
Fiancé Danielle is next to let her hair down with her hen do later this month and boy she deserves it. The 29-year-old has also been subjected to some sickening abuse online.
Taylor said: "The fall-out has been crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it. The abuse Danielle and my wee sister Finch have taken, it’s crazy.
"It doesn’t bother me getting it but when you see it affecting your family, it's a different story. I’ve never had anything like this before. When you see them getting personal attacks about their appearance and threats of violence, it’s hard to take."