Josh Taylor is still the undisputed junior welterweight champion, but Jack Catterall made his case. Taylor retained his crown by split decision (114-111, 113-112, 112-113) in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd of 12,101 partisan supporters Saturday evening at OVO Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) had a challenging night in his first bout since unifying all four belts last May against Jose Ramirez. He was knocked to the deck in the eighth round, courtesy of a Catterall left hand. After Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) had a point deducted for holding in the 10th, Taylor was penalized for a shot after the 11th round bell had sounded.
The 12th round was fought in close quarters, and when the final bell rang, the capacity crowd awaited the verdict. Taylor prevailed by the closest of margins, keeping his undisputed championship and the promise of bigger fights.
This is what Taylor had to say after fight.
"I started a little slow, but once I grabbed the momentum, I started catching him with the bigger shots. He was trying to spoil a lot. Going down and up a lot and clashing my head. He caught me with a couple of good shots. I’m not gonna lie to you. It wasn’t my best performance. I put a lot of pressure on myself with it being my homecoming. Been three years, first time since lockdown and all that. I put a lot of pressure on myself being the heavy favorite and it showed in the first half of the fight.
"Once I got my rhythm I started catching him with the bigger shots and catching him and catching him. It wasn’t my best performance, but I believe I got the win 100 percent. But Jack did very well.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself to put on a good show for my home fans. But it didn’t matter in the end. I got the good result.
"I knew I won the fight. It was close. Overall I scored the bigger shots, the better shots, the more meaningful shots so I know I won the fight. It was a little bit close, but I know I won the fight."
Ramirez Shines in Co-Feature
The last time Robeisy Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) fought on British soil, at the 2012 London Olympics, he won the first of his two Olympic gold medals. His return was a triumphant one, as he knocked down Irish veteran Eric Donovan (14-2, 8 KOs) twice en route to a third-round stoppage. Ramirez scored a knockdown with a counter left in the opening round and closed the show with a pair of lefts.
Ramirez said, “It was an honor to fight in Scotland in front of the great fans. I wanted to put on a sensational performance, and I believe I did that. Eric Donovan came to fight, but I am motivated to become a world champion one day. I know I can contend for a featherweight world title very soon.”
In undercard action:
Welterweight: Paddy "Real Deal" Donovan (8-0, 6 KOs), the Irish sensation trained and managed by former world champion Andy Lee, picked apart Miroslav Serdan (13-9, 7 KOs) en route to a sixth-round TKO. Serban's corner stopped the fight due to left ear injury 56 seconds into the round.
Donovan said, "I was comfortable in there, but he has a tight defense so I had to take my time and break him down. We knew he would be durable, and my jab made it easier to open up a bit. No complaints with this performance. We executed the game plan to perfection."
Junior Lightweight: Top Rank prospect Kurt Walker, who won a 2019 European Games gold medal for Ireland, needed only 2:03 to knock out Jaroslav Hriadel (1-3) in his professional debut. Walker ended the fight by digging a left hook into Hriadel’s liver. Walker plans on campaigning as a featherweight.
Walker said, "I enjoyed it. It’s different whenever you’re fighting as an amateur. You’re in an airport for eight hours. I was able to chill out and feel the pressure of other fighters because they’re fighting big fights. I enjoyed it. It was like I was on holiday."
Heavyweight: Nick Campbell (5-0, 5 KOs) won the battle of Scotland with a seventh-round stoppage over the impossibly game Jay McFarlane (12-6, 5 KOs). Campbell knocked down McFarlane with a right hand in the seventh, and after repeated flush right hands to the chin, the referee halted the beating later in the round.
Junior Middleweight: Top Rank-signed prospect Kieran Molloy, from Galway, Ireland, authored a second-round TKO in his pro debut over Spanish veteran Damian Esquisabel (4-8). Molloy, a southpaw, engaged from the opening bell until the referee saw fit to end the one-way traffic 33 seconds into the second after a pair of right hooks landed.
Junior Featherweight: Ebonie Jones (1-0-1) was held to a six-round draw against Scottish veteran Effie Kathopouli (4-3-1).
Light Heavyweight: In an all-Scottish battle, southpaw John Docherty (12-1, 9 KOs) picked up his third consecutive victory with a second-round stoppage over Jordan Grant (4-2). Docherty notched the KO with a left hand to Grant's body.