Josh Taylor pulls off razor-thin split decision over Jack Catterall (Video)

Undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor got a lot more than he bargained for in Jack Catterall but narrowly got the decision victory. 

On Saturday, Feb. 26, fans inside Scotland’s OVO Hydro Arena expected to see their countryman Josh Taylor defend his undisputed super lightweight boxing crown with style and dominance. Instead, they got an unexpected scare of giant proportions.

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) hadn’t fought since May 2021, when he unanimously bested Jose Ramirez. The time away from the ring, along with illness, likely played a factor in Taylor’s poor performance against Catterall, but his reputation is going to take a hit.

Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) was a massive underdog on the road. The British fighter bravely took the assignment of challenging Taylor in his backyard and almost pulled off an early upset of the year. Catterall didn’t win, but he got amazingly close and still walked out with soaring stock.

Catterall shocked Taylor in the early rounds. He outworked and out-landed Taylor. Catterall’s hands were faster, and he connected with the more impressive punches. He implemented an intelligent strategy by bringing the fight to Taylor, and Taylor mistakenly stifled his punches by trying to battle too close to Catterall.

Josh Taylor remained undefeated and is still the undisputed super lightweight champion, but he had a poor showing against Jack Catterall

Both men used roughhouse tactics which garnered many warnings from frustrated and incompetent referee Marcus McDonnell. Taylor and Catterall both held and did some dirty things in the ring, but McDonnell’s willingness to stop the action and talk disturbed the pace and scoring of the fight.

By round 5, Taylor’s right eye was badly swollen. A cut would open under the eye later in the fight, but it wasn’t bad enough to threaten a stoppage.

In round 8, Catterall connected with two left hands to the side of Taylor’s head that dropped the champion. Taylor was hurt but made it to his feet and recovered well. The drama ensued in round 10 when McDonnell took a point away from Catterall for pushing Taylor’s head down. It was a terrible decision from McDonnell, but it wasn’t his only one.

Catterall’s momentum wore off in the last three rounds. His punch output dropped, and Taylor’s aggression mounted. He started to wear down the smaller man, but McDonnell struck again when he took a point from Taylor after round 11 for tapping Catterall in the midsection after the bell. It was a foul but not worthy of a deduction.

Taylor closed the fight better than Catterall and walked away with a split decision. One judge had the fight 113-112 for Catterall, but the other two had it 114-111 and 113-112 for Taylor. Taylor acknowledged after the contest that it wasn’t his best performance. He also stated that this was probably his last fight as a super lightweight.

Taylor has expressed a desire to fight WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford. He might want to get a few warmup bouts in the division first because he looked far from ready to challenge Crawford.