Josh Taylor was not at his best Saturday night. However, he found a way to still be the undisputed junior welterweight champion by defeating Jack Catterall by a controversial split decision (114-111, 113-112, 112-113) in front of a sold-out crowd of 12,101 at OVO Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
This was Taylor’s (19-0, 13 KOs) first bout since unifying all four belts last May against Jose Ramirez.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to put on a good show for my home fans,” Taylor said after the fight. “But it didn’t matter in the end. I got the good result.”
On paper, it seems that Catterall did more than enough to win. He outlanded(120-73) and threw more punches(525-306) than Taylor. In addition, Catterall dropped Taylor with a left hand in the 8th.
In this fight, both fighters were deducted points. Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) had a point deducted for holding in the 10th, while Taylor was penalized for a shot after the 11th round bell had sounded.
The 12th round was fought in close quarters, and when the final bell rang, the capacity crowd awaited the verdict. Taylor prevailed by the closest of margins, keeping his undisputed championship and the promise of bigger fights.
“I started a little slow, but once I grabbed the momentum, I started catching him with the bigger shots,” Taylor said. “He was trying to spoil a lot. Going down and up a lot and clashing my head. He caught me with a couple of good shots. I’m not gonna lie to you. It wasn’t my best performance. I put a lot of pressure on myself, with it being my homecoming. Been three years, first time since lockdown and all that. I put a lot of pressure on myself, being the heavy favorite, and it showed in the first half of the fight.
“Once I got my rhythm, I started catching him with the bigger shots and catching him and catching him. It wasn’t my best performance, but I believe I got the win 100 percent. But Jack did very well.”
Obviously, Catterall disagreed with the decision.
“I knew I won the fight. It was close,” he said. “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 know I won the fight.”
We may not see a rematch in this one because Taylor hinted that he might move up to 147.
In the end, Taylor escaped, but Catterall probably won this fight.
Photo: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images