Jack Catterall : The Forgotten Man

Published on 1 November 2023 at 16:00

Arguably, no one has had a tougher time of it in boxing than Jack Catterall. Crawling his way to the top and playing the game to be installed in  mandatory position only for his crowning moment taken away which brought the sport into disrepute.

But, the light-welterweight division has since moved on with new champions and Catterall firmly in the shadows. How has this happened and what is next for Catterall in his boxing career?


The Rise


Hailing from Chorley, England, Jack Catterall built up a steady reputation for himself, fighting predominantly in the North West of England being sensibly matched as he gained that all important professional experience.

Champion success was soon to come to ‘El Gato’ in the form of the Super Lightweight Central Area title in his 8th professional fight. Catterall quickly dispatched his unbeaten opponent, Nathan Brough, with a second round left hook knockout to claim the title. 

After claiming the Central Area title, Catterall went straight into another championship contest against another undefeated opponent. This time the WBO European Super Lightweight championship on the line. Catterall again impressed in this matchup, comprehensively out-boxing his opponent, Thomas Stalker, dropping him in the first. Catterall faced his first moment of real adversity in his professional career when in the 7th round he was cut underneath the right eye. This cut lit a fire in Catterall and he went through the gears to get his opponent out of the contest in round 8.

In his 10th fight, Catterall picked up the WBO Inter-Continental Super Lightweight title. Though not the most prestigious title, winning and defending this title holds great gravitas with the sanctioning body in terms of ranking and posturing to get a shot at a world championship.

This proved a good strategic move for Catterall as after 8 defences of the WBO Inter-Continental title against a mix of domestic and international opponents, he was in good standing with the WBO and primed to make a challenge for a world title. 

Thanks to his win streak and his standing within the WBO rankings, Catterall was installed as the number one challenger for the WBO championship in January 2019 and was then installed as mandatory in the July of the same year. However this left Catterall in the waiting game to get his chance at fighting for the world championship as he succumbed to the politics of the sport. 

Catterall had to wait for champion at the time, José Ramírez, to fight his WBC mandatory challenger, Viktor Postol. After this successful defence for Ramírez, he was again ordered by the WBO to defend against Catterall. However, he made the decision to receive a step-aside payment with the purpose being to allow Ramírez to face Josh Taylor, for the undisputed light-welterweight title.

Later than scheduled Catterall finally was afforded his opportunity to challenge for world honours against Josh Taylor, two and a half years after being made mandatory challenger.


The Fight v Josh Taylor


26 February 2022 marked a seminal moment within the history of British Boxing. For the first time in the men’s four world championship belt era, all titles were contested for by two British boxers on British soil.  



Catterall was met by a chorus of boo’s as he made his ring at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow with the crowd certainly favouring the hometown favourite, Taylor. However, over the next 12 rounds of action, perceptions certainly changed about the challenger. The fight itself was certainly a feisty affair which resulted in the champion, Taylor, being cut twice by the left eye. Catterall scored the only knockdown in the fight in round 8 thanks to a short left which hurt Taylor but he managed to make it to the end of the round. The majority of the fight was untidy and points were taken away. In round 10, Catterall was deducted a point for holding and in round 11, Taylor lost a point due to hitting Catterall after the bell.



What would come next would send shockwaves into the boxing landscape. After the full 12 rounds, the fight went to a split decision. A 113-112 for Taylor, a 113-112 for Catterall and a deciding 114-111 for Taylor. This resulted in Josh Taylor retaining his undisputed light-welterweight title.


The judges score cards would prove highly controversial with many fans, pundits and commentators feeling that Catterall should have been crowned champion. The aftermath of the fight created more questions than answers with the integrity of the sport being placed under intense scrutiny.


Unfortunately for Catterall, no real action was taken by his promoter at the time or the British Boxing Board of Control. He had been chewed up and spat out, the division simply moved on without its uncrowned king.

The State of Light-Welterweight


After the Catterall Taylor fight, the world championships at 140 pounds became fragmented. Multiple factors at play including Taylor’s expression of interest to move up in weight, mandatory challengers and governing bodies sanctioning fees. This now presents a mountain of regulation and politics for Catterall to climb, if he desires to become world champion yet alone unified.


At time of writing, the light-welterweight titles are currently dispersed with Josh Taylor no longer holding any world championships. The IBF title is currently held by Cuban stoppage machine, Subriel Matias. WBC is currently held by Regis Prograis with the WBO and WBA being vacant.


What Next for Catterall


The forgotten man moniker for Jack Catterall can’t be greater emphasized by the way his career has been navigated post Taylor fight. Instead of being thrust straight back into title fights or into an immediate rematch with Josh Taylor, Catterall's next match ups were a significant step down from this level. A 10 rounder against an unranked Darragh Foley and a main event against a 38 year old Jorge Linares. Catterall's recent match ups have left a lot to be desired.


After his most recent victory over Jorge Linares, Catterall called out Josh Taylor for a rematch. Though it is admirable to want to avenge the wrongdoings against him from 2022, the rematch does not have the same prestige as it once did. Taylor is both no longer in his weight division and no longer the holder of a world championship.


The Taylor fight will always be there with their fight being now entwined in each other's narratives, but now is the time for Catterall to once again challenge for world honours. The rematch now is simply a diversion from the path of becoming a world champion. 


Catterall’s best bet would be to have called out Teofimo Lopez. Lopez has an official victory over Josh Taylor and would be the most logical next opponent for Catterall. Though Lopez is “retired” this is sure to not last at just 26. Lopez v Catterall for the vacant WBO world championship could be a great next match up. 


It's time for Catterall to get his career back on track and become the world champion that he rightly deserves to be.





Written by Charlie Davies


X: @cajd_


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