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Josh Taylor agrees to rematch with Jack Catterall for WBO title

Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall have agreed to terms for a Feb. 4 rematch in the U.K. for Taylor’s WBO junior welterweight championship, sources told ESPN.

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) kept his four 140-pound titles via a controversial split decision when he faced Catterall in February in his native Scotland.

Taylor had planned to move up to 147 pounds but reversed course following a public outcry over the judging. Taylor, 31, said he even received death threats.

The then-undisputed champion was dropped from ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings following the performance and proceeded to do everything in his power to secure the rematch. That included vacating three of his four junior welterweight titles — the IBF, WBA and WBC belts — to avoid mandatory obligations with various No. 1 contenders.

The matchup, which will be streamed on ESPN+ in the U.S., pits ESPN’s top two 140-pounders against each other, with Catterall being No. 1.

Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) was a decided underdog ahead of his first fight with Taylor but impressed with clean punching, an ability to avoid the champion’s power shots and a sound jab. He floored Taylor in Round 7 and appeared to do enough to earn a close fight.

“It wasn’t my best performance and I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself being heavy favorite and boxing back at home … but once I started catching him, I believe I got the win 100 percent,” Taylor said afterward. “I know I won the fight, overall I scored the bigger shots and the more meaningful shots. He put up a good fight, but he never won the fight. Second half of the fight I took control.”

Taylor recently parted ways with his trainer, Ben Davison, in favor of Joe McNally, who trains former champion Liam Smith. Taylor won his first title in May 2019 with a decision victory over Ivan Baranchyk. Five months later, Taylor added a second belt with a points win over Regis Prograis. In May 2021, Taylor captured the undisputed championship with a decision win over Jose Ramirez.

Catterall, a 29-year-old from England, was competing at the elite level for the first time. “Today I should have been waking up with all of the belts,” Catterall said on Instagram the day after the fight with Taylor. ” … Boxing, shame on you. … Dreams stolen.”

Steve Carr

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