Bitter enemies Taylor and Catterall ready to face-off as press tour launches

Bitter enemies Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall will today come head-to-head for the first time since their controversial February 26 fight in Glasgow.

They will meet as part of a two-city media tour to announce their long-awaited rematch, which takes place in Leeds on April 27, kicking off in Edinburgh this afternoon and then following up tomorrow in Manchester.

Back when they first boxed, Taylor was the undisputed junior welterweight champion and Catterall an unbeaten challenger with 26 wins behind him, and the champion was a heavy favourite.

However, Taylor – who was cut, dropped and had a point taken off – won a contentious split decision that prompted outrage from Team Catterall and on social media.

The British Boxing Board of Control investigated the scoring, and shortly afterwards Ian John-Lewis was downgraded as an official.

What followed, in essence, has been a two-year back and forth between Taylor and Catterall, with Catterall claiming a moral victory but Taylor having retained his crowns.

They had been due to fight again in March last year, back in Glasgow, with Boxxer promoting, and both had signed for the rematch.

Broadcaster Sky Sports ran into scheduling issues with having it too close to the first pay-per-view clash between Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Smith and ultimately the fighters went their separate ways. 

Taylor had started to lose his titles, relinquishing them as he waited for the rematch, and he also spoke about moving up to fight at welterweight.

Taylor has fought just once since Catterall, losing his remaining WBO title to Teofimo Lopez in New York in June last year, while Catterall boxed twice in 2023, scoring decisions over Darragh Foley (10 rounds) and Jorge Linares, over 12, in October. 

Catterall, now aged 30, revealed that he had signed for the rematch once again several weeks ago in early January and he was then waiting for Taylor to agree terms, but he felt it was now or never for the return.

“From my point of view, I beat Josh,” Catterall said. “If I beat him convincingly again it puts my name in the hat for Teofimo [Lopez] and the other champions, but I guess what other options does he have? I don’t hear any other offers coming in, and certainly not for the numbers he has been asking for that he will get for this fight. Either way, they said I am going to fight in March or April. That is the preferred fight for now, but if it doesn’t happen now, I don’t believe it will ever happen again.” 

After the first fight, Taylor, now 33, said: “It wasn't my best performance, and I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself being heavy favourite and boxing back at home ... but once I started catching him, I believe I got the win 100 per cent. I know I won the fight; overall I scored the bigger shots and the more meaningful shots. He put up a good fight, but he never won the fight. Second half of the fight I took control.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn is expecting fireworks, today and tomorrow.

“Fun and games begin tomorrow,” he wrote on social media on Sunday night.