Jack Catterall next fight: El Gato calls out Teofimo Lopez, targets world titles after Josh Taylor triumph

Jack Catterall would not be denied. Two years and three months after his controversial split-decision loss to Josh Taylor, the Chorley hero battled through a mid-fight rally from his bitter rival to secure a stirring rematch win in Leeds on Saturday night.

Much like the first time they met in Glasgow, the scorecards were questionable – the two 117-111 verdicts in Catterall’s favour were far too wide and drew some instant meme ire from Taylor’s veteran promoter Bob Arum. However, Catterall was a worthy unanimous decision victor.

For Catterall (29-1, 13 KOs), talk of a trilogy fight with Taylor can wait. All roads must now lead to a world title.

“There’s been a lot of back and forth over the past two years, a lot of personal messages. I believe we squashed that tonight. It’s been a long time coming and it’s done. That chapter is written for me now,” the 30-year-old said.

“A world title has always been the dream. We didn’t get the undisputed and that’s fine, that chapter’s been written. I’m in a great position, Eddie [Hearn] has got a massive stable at 140 and I want that world title fight.”

MORE: How Jack Catterall gained revenge victory over Josh Taylor

Catterall referred to a “bittersweet” triumph in the ring afterwards and his trainer Jamie Moore also lamented the fact his man was not already a world champion. The judges took that possibility away from him in February 2022 when Taylor held all the major belts at 140 lbs. 

“I’m unbelievably proud and it’s just over two years too late in terms of he should have been crowned undisputed champion,” Moore said. “People tell me to stop f****** crying, blah blah blah. No, that’s the absolute pinnacle of the sport and it got snatched away.”

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As lengthy negotiations and injury lay-offs pushed the rematch down the road, Taylor vacated belts and then defended his remaining WBO title against Teofimo Lopez last year. The American superstar prevailed and this is who Catterall now has in his sights.

“I was mandatory for the WBO title for what felt like a lifetime. He beat Taylor before I did on paper, we both have the win over him and I want to prove that I’m better than him,” Catterall said.

“I believe I’ve got the style to beat Lopez and that’s the fight I want.”

Jack Catterall on the attack against Josh Taylor

George Wood/Getty Images

For Catterall, a mild-mannered boxing obsessive, that’s what passes for a callout. It left his promoter Eddie Hearn to turn up the heat, lambasting Lopez’s forthcoming defence against unheralded Canadian veteran Steve Claggett. 

“Teofimo Lopez is fighting Steve Claggett and I don’t want to be disrespectful to Steve Claggett but it’s a f****** disgrace, an absolute joke fight,” the Matchroom chief said.

“You talk about Teofimo Lopez coming off a big win over Josh Taylor, says he’s the best 140-pounder in the world. That’s a joke fight.

“This is the guy who should be fighting Teofimo Lopez and we believe he’ll beat him all day long.”

As is often the case for Hearn, and boxing in general nowadays, all roads might lead to Saudi Arabia for that one. Matchroom count 140-pound champions Subriel Matias and Devin Haney among their stable. Lopez, on the other hand, is notoriously hard to satisfy around the negotiating table and Turki Alalshikh’s Riyadh Season bounty might be the most plausible way to get Catterall the man he wants.

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MORE: What you need to know about Teofimo Lopez vs. Steve Claggett

“We talk about a potential USA vs. UK card that His Excellency has looked at,” Hearn explained, a week out from the Matchroom vs. Queensberry 5 vs. 5 in Saudi. “Teofimo against Jack Catterall is a great fight out there, Haney against Catterall. 

“I know that [Alalshikh] watches every show and he would have watched that card tonight and would have been very impressed, not just with Jack’s performance but the atmosphere as well. It’s one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen.”

The unforgettable din of a pro-Catterall crowd with a sizeable Scottish contingent backing Taylor could never be transferred to Riyadh. Saturday in Leeds was the sort of night British boxing, with all its peculiarities and parochialism, gets right in a deeply satisfying way. They are the nights that shimmer far longer than the gleam of those alphabet belts that Catterall rightly wants to make his own. 

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