Josh Taylor's 'worst mistake' will put paid to Jack Catterall

“They’ve already painted the narrative with the robbery and all that and fucking everything,” Josh Taylor told ProBox TV. “Do you know what I mean? They have already painted the narrative, so I am the away fighter.”

Taylor’s name comes first on the poster for his rematch with Jack Catterall on April 27 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

“I’m the A-side,” Taylor regardless continued. “It’s Taylor-Catterall, not Catterall-Taylor. He ain't done nothin;, he ain't beat anyone. I couldn’t give a shit to be honest – I know what he can do. I know what I can do and what I’ve been doing in the gym – it ain’t going to be a nice night for him. He had his chance last time, but he fucked it up.

Taylor hit the canvas when they fought in Glasgow in 2022 at the SSE Hydro Arena. They both also had a point deducted before he was awarded a controversial split-decision.

“I was looking at Terence Crawford and stuff,” Taylor explained. “Instead I should have been looking at Jack and he fucked it up. He won’t be getting that version of me again. I was cheating on my diet. I was still eating pizza; I still had a nutritionist who was giving me my food, but then I was off at night getting something to eat. Eating shit because I wasn’t really bothered; I was unmotivated. I made the mistake of overlooking your opponent – that was the worst mistake that I ever made. 

“He’s had his chance – it is now gone. I’m not really bothered [about the fight happening in Leeds]. They were moaning that ‘We ain't coming to Scotland again, blah blah blah’. I said, ‘Okay then let’s go’. Ben Shalom actually had the fight. This fight has been so long in the making, we could have been here about three months ag;, four months ago. We had Eddie Hearn saying that he wants too much money, and this and that. Then all of a sudden I’m getting paid what I wanted anyway. Fuck me, we could have been here at the start, ‘There is the figure we want, that’s it’. We are there now – I’m actually getting a wee bit better paid. What the fuck was he wasting all the time about? We could have been here ages ago.”

Taylor was defending the undisputed super lightweight title when they fought little over two years ago. Catterall, those around him and many neutral observers have since strongly contested the decision. For a number of reasons their rematch has taken until 2024 to agree. 

“It’s good – it has been a long time coming,” he said. “I feel like I’ve explained the whole thing up there. It should have happened straight away; we tried to match it straight away; we tried to get it done, straight away. Jack has had three promoters in two years, which doesn’t help things move along quickly. You have to start negotiations with different people, different stopping points and all that carry on.

“I picked up an injury that then put the fight back; Jack then took another fight, then Ben Shalom did not secure another date or venue. By that point, the fight fell through with Jack. Then my mandatory was like, ‘Right, you gotta fight your mandatory or lose your remaining [WBO] title. And it was a big fight, Teofimo Lopez at Madison Square Garden [Theater] – career highest payday. Why wouldn’t I?”

It’d long been expected that the former 140lbs champion will move to welterweight. He and his team regardless demanded that the grudge rematch take place at 140lbs, rather than a catchweight. 

“I know 140 because I know I can make the weight,” Taylor explained. “I made it conformable; I made it great in New York; the best time I’ve ever made it. I’ve done all the tests, all the blood tests, sugar levels and muscle density at the University of Liverpool. 

“I know I can make the weight. Different story for him!”

Their rivalry is genuine. Catterall grabbed Taylor by the throat when they faced-off on Monday at the first press conference to promote their fight; they twice had to be separated. 

“He tried to strangle me,” Taylor, at 33 three years older than Catterall, said with a gleeful smile. “I went to hit him with a left hook but Eddie half-copped it on his shoulder, so it never connected. It was just as well, because that would have been the fucking fight over. He might have ended up getting cut or might have broke my hand. Someone might have fallen off the stage and broke their fucking leg or something. That’s the brains of the guy – he’s a bit of a fucking moron.

“It’s not that I don’t like him – it’s just that he is so fucking stupid. It’s unbelievable. He’s not got the brains to wind me up.”