Taylor v Catterall 2

Jack Catterall
All three judges scored a gripping contest in favour of Catterall [PA]

Jack Catterall avenged his controversial defeat to Josh Taylor by outpointing the Scot in front of a raucous crowd in Leeds.

All three judges ruled in favour of El Gato with the scorecards reading 117-111, 117-111 and 116-113.

The Chorley fighter undoubtedly landed the cleaner shots throughout, but had to withstand a brave fightback from Taylor, who suffered the second defeat of his professional career.

Catterall said he can now "close that chapter on Josh Taylor", telling BBC Radio 5 Live: "I had a few little niggles in there but I overcame [them] and stayed disciplined.

"We've shared 24 rounds together. As much as things have been said there's always respect to another fighter. He's a tough competitor."

Taylor, however, said he is keen on a third meeting to "settle the score".

Insisting he had done enough to edge a thrilling contest, the Scot added that "given all the noise around the first fight, they've given it straight to Jack".

Fight comes to life in the third

Since their explosive first bout in Glasgow in February 2022 when Taylor was awarded victory by the judges in a fight most observers believed he lost, there has been a sense both boxers' careers have stalled.

The Prestonpans man had fought only once since, a decision loss to Teofimo Lopez in New York last June, while Catterall’s points wins over Darragh Foley and the veteran Jorge Linares did little to advance his case for another world title shot.

The animosity between Taylor and Catterall is genuine and intense, but both men spoke in the build-up to this long-awaited rematch about the importance of keeping their emotions in check when it finally came time to step back between the ropes.

With the fight taking place less than 50 miles from his hometown of Chorley, Catterall entered the ring to a terrific ovation, while Taylor seemed more than happy to play the villain as the boos rained down from the boisterous 11,000 crowd.

How much did a 33-year-old Taylor have left in the tank? Was Catterall ready to prove he belongs at world level? These were the questions hanging in the air as the two bitter rivals finally got down to business.

Catterall established his right jab in the early stages and while Taylor backed up his opponent on the ropes he was on the receiving end of a couple of smart overhand lefts.

A clash of heads produced a nasty bump on Taylor’s head which seemed to be causing him some distress.

Both men had promised the second instalment would be more exciting and less cagey than the original and the fight came to life in the third when Taylor landed a big left to rock Catterall back on to the ropes, only for the Englishman to fight fire with fire and enjoy some success of his own.

Taylor was looking to force the pace, stalking his opponent around the ring, but Catterall is adept at boxing on the back foot and a late flurry probably edged the fourth in his favour.

Catterall came roaring out the traps in the fifth, buckling Taylor’s with a rapid combination in the centre of the ring. The Scot ended the round laying on the ropes with Catterall teeing off on him and the bell came as welcome relief.

With the "Chorley, Chorley" chants growing louder, their man was now firmly in control and while Taylor looked to get back on the front foot, his shots were not getting through as cleanly as those he was receiving.

Catterall and Taylor traded blows in a gripping contest
Catterall and Taylor traded blows in a gripping contest [PA]

No controversy in verdict this time

Taylor is nothing if not a warrior and he came out with renewed vigour in the seventh. A beautiful left counter landed flush and for the first time in the fight Catterall seemed to feel the effects of some of Taylor's attacks.

The Scot seemed to be warming to the task until a rapid flurry of punches snapped his head back and shifted the momentum of the fight again.

Heading into the 10th both men had noticeable swelling under the eyes and the cat-and-mouse of the early rounds was replaced by brutal exchanges in the centre of the ring.

Perhaps sensing he was behind on the scorecards, Taylor went looking for Catterall in the 11th, only to walk on to a massive shot that he did well to survive.

There was a sense of deja vu heading into the final round with Taylor surely needing a stoppage, or at the very least a knockdown, to salvage the fight. Would Catterall look to take it out of the judges' hands this time around?

Both men fought gamely to the last, but neither had the energy reserves to close the show and once again their fate would be in the hands of the officials.

There would be no controversy this time and while some may argue the scorecards were a little wide, Catterall was awarded the victory his performance deserved.

He will now press on in his attempts for world honours. For Taylor, the future is less clear.

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