It’s over to Josh Taylor to sign for the rematch in March or April, says Jack Catterall

Jack Catterall says it’s over to Josh Taylor to sign for their rematch and that it could be “now or never” if they are to fight again.

Catterall had been called by the IBF to fight Richardson Hitchins in an eliminator but yesterday purse bids for that proposed fight were postponed until January 11.

Hitchins, according to Catterall, had issues with the rehydration clause but an offer is on the table to Taylor for a rematch of their highly-controversial bout in February 2022. 

“I don’t know if a deal is going to get done there,” the 30–year-old Catterall said of the Hitchins fight. “Where I am up to is, they have made an offer for Taylor, I’ve accepted. Top Rank [who promote Taylor] like the offer. It is the number that Taylor requested. Ultimately, it is down to him at the moment. The guys in Saudi have reached out, they want the fight. I’ve accepted my side. Taylor has his offer. The first offer he refused, but that was to fight over here. Then it changed. They matched the number, and it seems to have gone quiet for a couple of days. Which I don’t know if it is good or bad, but I believe from what I’ve heard from his team, his lawyer and Top Rank have said, ‘We like this fight and it makes sense to do it’. We are just waiting on them, really.”

The first bout, which many thought Catterall won, saw the Chorley challenger lose a split decision in Glasgow. A rematch, Catterall said, would more than likely take place in Saudi Arabia on March 9 or April 20. 

In an interview this week, Taylor said he would rather rematch Teofimo Lopez, the only man to have beaten him, and while Catterall understands the business and why the Scot wants Lopez again, Lopez is likely heading in a different direction and Catterall, 28-1, is waiting.

“Yeah, if I was Josh, I would want that [Lopez] fight as well,” Catterall added. “From my understanding, that fight is not there to be made. Teofimo has got a fight and it is a bit of a weird one for both of us really. I feel like it needs putting to bed [to be settled]. He’s not got the titles anymore. From my point of view, I beat Josh. If I beat him convincingly again it puts my name in the hat for Teofimo 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.” 

When they met before, Taylor was the undisputed champion. There is more interest in the rematch, but without the grandeur of the titles, it will be hard to get the financials in line with where they were when the belts were at stake. That is likely where Saudi Arabia comes into it.

“Of course, the figure his team came up with has been matched now,” Catterall said. “So I don’t see any excuses other than the fact that he really doesn’t want to fight me, and that’s the top and bottom of it. The numbers are met, the fight is there to be made so the only reason I can think of is that he truly doesn’t want to fight me and lose to me again!”

Since that bout, Catterall and Taylor have traded barbs on social media. While there might be plenty of manufactured grudges in boxing, the needle between Taylor and Catterall is legitimate.

“Yeah, I would say so,” Catterall went on. “It is not in my character to fallout and argue with people, but since we have boxed there has been a lot of comments back and forth, handbags stuff really. But ultimately he has said some things that piss me off and vice versa, so yeah there is needle there.”

Taylor has had just the one fight since, but Catterall dusted his gloves off and boxed twice in five months to close out 2023, defeating Darragh Foley (pts 10) and Jorge Linares (pts 12) and Catterall was happy to see action twice.

“Listen, I’ve had them stages in my career where I have been kept out of the ring for over 12 months more than once,” he continued. “To be back last year with Matchroom, it was a good year. Two fights, I headlined the second fight against a modern-day legend, picked up two good wins and got back with activity. I was happy with it. Three fights would have been a lot better, but I’m still very grateful I managed to get two in last year.”

When Taylor and Catterall first fought, Catterall had been inactive and had not boxed for some 18 months. Now, with the Foley and Linares wins in the recent past, he believes he will be better if they box again.

“I believe so,” Catterall continued. “I believe, if you speak to any fighter, activity is key. We’ve seen it with [Deontay] Wilder – not to take anything away from Joseph Parker’s performance – but as a fighter you can be in the gym but as much as you’re in the gym you need to be under the lights, with the little gloves on and I believe activity is key. I’ve stayed in the gym, I’ve had those two fights and there are things I’m working on and building on, so I believe if I get the Taylor fight, it’s a big fight next. I’ve had good preparation, two fights that have gone the distance that have put me in good stead.”

While Taylor is looking across The Pond at Lopez, there are plenty of UK boxing fans still clamouring for the Catterall return. Catterall, for one, is continuously inundated with people wanting to talk about them and the possibility of a rematch. 

“It’s a funny one, I speak to a lot of people, friends and everyone’s like, ‘You don’t need to box him again’,” Catterall said. “And he must get the same, getting asked seven days a week, no matter where I am in the country, when are we fighting again, and I can only imagine he’s getting the same no matter what any of us post online, it’s still there. Surely, from his point of view, he wants to put it to bed, the doubters etc, and for me I want to cement it, beat him and put myself in a position to fight the other guys.”

It sounds like it could be close, but Catterall is not holding his breath. It is a fight he covets, but in 2024 he is ready to make a move to the top with or without Taylor.

“I’ve been in this position before,” Catterall admitted. “We were close to getting the Regis Prograis fight over the line, that was all agreed last year and that fell through. Until it’s on, it’s not on. But I’m in the gym, I’m working, and I’m promised a fight date in the first quarter of the year so I’ll be ready for that whoever that is. 

“I’ve been put in a position by the IBF to fight in an eliminator [with Hitchins] and I’ve not heard too much about it. I see the purse bids have been postponed. It’s been on social media, it’s been on record that there’s been offers to Taylor and Eddie [Hearn] did an interview the other day, and we’ve had feedback from Top Rank, from his lawyer, and they’re under the same impression that it is the fight to make, so the only person now to actually accept it is Taylor.”