Jack Catterall avenges disputed loss to Josh Taylor; Bob Arum calls scoring ‘a disgrace’

(This story originally published on MMA Junkie sister-site

Anyone up for a third fight?

Jack Catterall, who had to accept a controversial defeat the first time he fought then-undisputed 140-pound champion Josh Taylor, defeated his rival by a unanimous decision in a non-title rematch Saturday night in Leeds, England.

The official scores were 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112. Boxing Junkie scored it 115-113 for Catterall, seven rounds to five.

“It’s bitter sweet tonight,” Catterall said. “No world titles. I won the fight. We can close that chapter with Josh Taylor.”

Many believe that Catterall deserved the nod in the first meeting, in February 2022 in Taylor’s native Scotland. However, Taylor won a split decision.

Few will claim that Taylor was robbed on Saturday, although his U.S. promoter Bob Arum called the scoring “a disgrace” and vowed never to bring an American fighter to the U.K. again.

The scoring probably was too one-sided given the competitiveness of the fight, including a number of rounds that were difficult to score.

Catterall (29-1, 13 KOs) controlled the first half of the bout, taking the action to his opponent, generally beating him to the punch and landing the harder shots.

However, Taylor, evidently aware that victory was getting away from him, rallied in the second half by shifting into another gear. He matched his rival punch for punch and had him backing up at times down the stretch.

Catterall probably landed the biggest blow of the night — a big left midway through Round 11 that rocked Taylor — but he couldn’t finish Taylor off.

In the end, Catterall’s ability to dictate the pace and land the cleaner shots evidently earned him the biggest victory of his career.

He was nervous but also confident in the moments before the decision was announced.

“I felt that feeling last time,” he said. “This time it went a lot quicker and was more conclusive. There was a long wait last time, but I knew I’d done it [on Saturday].”

Taylor (19-2, 13 KOs) wasn’t as vociferous as Arum in his condemnation of the scoring but the former champion believes the wrong man had his hand raised.

“I thought I just nicked the fight, to be fair,” said Taylor, who lost his titles to Teofimo Lopez in his previous bout. “It was a close fight. The controversy of the first fight probably played into the judges hands. …

“Listen, fair play to Jack. He won the fight. Let’s do a third one. Why not? That was a good fight.”

Catterall was asked afterward whether he’d do it again with Taylor. “Over to Ed,” he said, nodding toward promoter Eddie Hearn, who was standing next to him in the ring.

Hearn seemed to suggest that Catterall-Taylor III won’t come right away. Instead, Catterall, who has never won a world title, will pursue one.

“The third fight is a big fight but he deserves to be world champion. That’s got to be the focus,” he said. “We’re deep at 140. Subriel Matias fights Liam Paro coming up. We’ve got Devin Haney against Sandor Martin.

“I’d love to see this guy challenge and rightfully win a world championship.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie