Catterall eyes Taylor knockout in heated rematch

LEEDS, England — Jack Catterall has predicted he will earn a knockout victory over Josh Taylor in their junior welterweight clash on Saturday night in Leeds as he looks to avenge his controversial defeat in Glasgow two years ago.

Two of the three judges scored their first encounter in favour of Taylor, despite the Scot being dropped in the eighth round and arguably outboxed for much of the fight.

Catterall, who was relatively unknown at the time outside the UK, had the chance to become undisputed champion.

Upon keeping his belts, Taylor was adamant he had won the fight, while Catterall’s camp branded the decision as a disgrace and a robbery.

Now with eyes on revenge, Catterall has said he has what to takes to put to bed any doubt who the better fighter is and will end the rematch, which will be streamed live on ESPN +, with a knockout.

“I’m standing [by] it [my prediction] 100%. I’m going to take him out Saturday,” Catterall told the pre-fight news conference in Leeds on Thursday.

“It’s a must-win Saturday, that’s where all the energy is focused to. I know you’ve got a great division at 140 and a lot of big fights to be made and that’s an exciting prospect. But right now all I can think about is beating Josh on Saturday.”

While there has been plenty of aggression between the two in the past, Taylor refused to return fire when asked what he thought of his opponent’s prediction.

“Yeah good, let him think that if he wants to do that, great. Absolutely fantastic, music to my ears,” Taylor said.

“I don’t really care how I win this fight. Points, stoppage. The way I’ve been performing in the gym, the shots I’ve been throwing and catching people with, [if] I catch him with these shots it will be over. It will be devastating for him. We’ll see what happens. It’s just a win for me.”

The pair did agree that the bout is of huge importance if they want to go on to earn bigger fights in the future.

“This is a must-win, one for bragging rights. It’s one to say, I told you I’m better than you. I can’t wait,” Taylor said.

After being forcibly kept apart at the initial news conference after the rematch was announced, it was a tamer affair two days out from the fight, although there was a long, tense face-off, illustrating both the importance of the fight and the antipathy between the two.

While the winner could progress to a title bout, the loser could be left stranded in a division full of rising stars. Taylor refused any suggestion he’s past his best, with his only career defeat coming at the hands of Teofimo Lopez in 2023.

“Look at the history, all the great fighters of the past have suffered defeat and have come back and won world titles again,” Taylor said.

“When a fighter takes a defeat, doesn’t mean they’re finished fighting. I think that’s where boxing took a turn for the worse was, when a fighter takes a loss it’s: ‘Oh, he’s finished.’

“I still feel like I’m at the top of the game. On Saturday I’ll take care of business and I’m back in the picture for winning my titles back.”

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