Taylor and Catterall separated after heated confrontation

Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall had to be separated when they came face to face to promote their rematch on April 27. 

Their first fight, for the undisputed super lightweight title in 2022, being awarded in Taylor’s favour via split decision represented one of boxing’s biggest controversies of the modern era.

The bitterness that existed between them at the final bell that night has consistently grown and, not for the first time, almost became physical at the conclusion of Monday’s press conference in Edinburgh, where the 33-year-old Taylor was born.

Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn was first to intervene when they faced off after exchanging numerous insults as the top table, and as they were separated by those around them Taylor shouted at Catterall: “You’re fucked.”

“Hate’s a strong word,” Catterall had by then said. “I don’t care that much about Josh. The respect’s not there. Will it be there [on fight night]? I don’t think so. Right now he’s the enemy and that’s all I can focus on.

“I don’t believe he wanted to fight me. 

“I believe I won last time. Two years on, I’ve picked up two victories [against Darragh Foley and Jorge Linares], he went to New York, got smashed [by Teofimo Lopez in June 2023] and I believe he’s on the decline and I’m going to capitalise on it and put him to bed.

“Without a shadow of a doubt [I will win inside the distance]. I’m coming in there to do damage.”

The 30-year-old Catterall had knocked Taylor down during their first fight, at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Their rematch will be staged at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, where for their 10st non-title contest the Englishman can expect improved support.

“He said he’s going to knock me out – he’s never knocked anyone out in his life,” Taylor regardless said. “I can't wait for this fight.

“You’ve billed it ‘Hate Runs Strong’. I don’t hate anyone – I just don’t like this guy. I can’t wait to smash his brains in. I can’t wait.

“It’s kind of a crossroads fight. My last two fights haven’t been great – I’ve got a point to prove. I need to be back to my best, and win this fight to keep my career on the go. It’s a big fight.”

Hearn had earlier described Taylor as “arguably Scotland’s greatest ever fighter”. Taylor and the late, great Ken Buchanan were friends; he will therefore perhaps recognise that even victory over Catterall will not earn him parity with Buchanan.