Boxing

BBBofC to investigate scorecards after Taylor-Catterall Glasgow fiasco

Jack Catterall dominated Josh Taylor in Glasgow last Saturday night but Taylor was declared the winner
Andy Watters

THE British Boxing Board of Control will investigate the scoring of Saturday night's now infamous world light-welterweight title fight between Jack Catterall and Josh Taylor.

Taylor retained his undisputed crown but the split-decision verdict he was awarded has been hotly-disputed, ridiculed and condemned and the BBBofC's announcement that it will review the scoring is a major embarrassment for the sport.

Challenger Catterall did all that could have been expected of him on Saturday night. His preparation and conditioning were superb, tactically he was excellent, his defence was impenetrable at times, he hit harder and more often, he was brave and strong and he sent Taylor to the Glasgow canvas.

But he didn't get the win he deserved and boxing was the loser in that.

The pundits, the commentators, the TV viewers, even many in Taylor's vocal home support in Glasgow, knew their man, who looked weight-drained and sluggish, had been dethroned but two of the three judges, the men who really mattered, disagreed.

All three are vastly-experienced officials. Howard Foster scored the fight to Catterall but only by one round (113-112) and when that decision was announced Catterall's camp must have had a sinking feeling in pits of their stomachs.

The nightmare for them unfolded with Ian John-Lewis scoring 117-114 for Taylor (who as well as being dropped had a point deducted) and Victor Loughlin also went for the Scot (113-112) meaning Taylor kept his belts on split decision.

There's no suggestion that foul play was at work, no-one is claiming that ‘the fix was on' but what did the judges see that so many others did not? Could it be that experience has blinded them to what is happening before their eyes? Had they their minds made up before a punch was thrown and did they score the fight to fit that narrative?

The fight was rough and tough and dirty and there was a lot of holding and clinching. Taylor, with the pressure of fighting on home soil weighing heavily on his shoulders, had perhaps fallen into the old trap of complacency against the mandatory challenger and he struggled to close the distance and pin Catterall down.

Catterall, a solid unit, settled quickly, got his shots off, stayed low and tied Taylor down. His style was physical but he was clearly the better man on the night and should have had his bruised hand raised at the finish.

So why wasn't he? Only the judges know. Taylor was named the winner but his career will have been tainted by this controversy so the review is to be welcomed but it's time we had more transparency because boxing is grievously damaged by bodyblows like this.

Saturday night's decision should be reversed.

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THE away fighter didn't get what he deserved last Saturday night and Michael Conlan will play Jack Catterall's role in Nottingham on March 12 when he challenges Leigh Wood for the WBA featherweight title.

Like Catterall, who controversially lost to Josh Taylor in Glasgow, Conlan is the challenger in a foreign city and his hopes could rest with the ringside judges at Nottingham Arena. Catterall dominated Taylor but lost on what will go down as an infamous split-decision verdict.

Conlan was the victim of corrupt judging at the Rio Olympics and, while there is no suggestion that the judging in Glasgow was corrupt, it was at best bizarre and at worst inept.

There is no place for either in boxing and Conlan hopes that the controversy means that, with the judges under the spotlight, the scorecards will give an accurate reading of events in Nottingham.

“It has to be a concern for everybody in boxing when you're seeing decisions like that,” he said.

“For me in a sense it's good that it's happening now and there has been a lot of light shone on it coming into my fight week. It's unfortunate and devastating for Jack but I'm happy there's a lot of light and eyes on it now and a lot of scrutiny because hopefully it means that they can't do this again – it happens too much in boxing.

“I've spoken about it before very famously so people know my feelings on it and hopefully I don't run into the same situation.”

The judges' scorecards will be reviewed by the British Boxing Board of Control and rightly so. As it stands, Catterall's career is in tatters and with Taylor poised for a move to welterweight a rematch is unlikely.

“A young man's career has been ruined,” said Conlan.

“If he doesn't get a rematch he won't get the chance to fight for an undisputed title again because those belts will go everywhere now. It's very unfortunate, it's bad for the sport. I had Catterall winning by four or five rounds - after six I had it five to him and one even.

“It could be that the judges thought that Josh was going to win and their mind made them see that… It's hard to know. There needs to be a lot more understanding of what people are judging and the judges need to be held accountable and explain how they've judged what they've judged.”

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WITH wailing NYPD sirens and the blaring horns of yellow taxi cabs in the background, Tyrone featherweight Feargal McCrory delivered the news that he hopes to fight on the undercard of Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden on April 30.

Brackaville native McCrory is now based in New York where he trains with Derry's former middleweight contender John Duddy at the Trinity Boxing gym in Manhattan.

McCrory hasn't fought since May 2019. He was due to make a comeback two years ago but the Covid pandemic scuppered that and now, aged 29, the 11-0 former Tyrone minor star intends to make every fight count as he embarks on the second chapter of his career.

“I want to be in brilliant fights, every fight I get now, I want it to be a great fight,” said McCrory.

“I want every fight to be challenging, I want the person I'm fighting to be ranked above me because I have to take risks. I haven't got time to mess around, I'm 29 now so we're working hard and whatever opportunity comes we'll take it.

“If the Garden fight (the Taylor-Serrano undercard) doesn't happen, I'll fight in Florida for a title – it'll be a minor ranking title but it'll be a step in the right direction. Our aim and target is to fight on the east coast – in Philadelphia, New York and Boston – and keep climbing the ladder.”

Elsewhere, Eric Donovan's challenge against Cuban exile Robeisy Ramirez ended in disappointment on Saturday night on the undercard of Taylor-Catterall but there were debut wins for Kurt Walker (first round TKO) and Galway's Kieran Molloy while Paddy Donovan extended his record to 8-0 with his eighth stoppage win.

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Boxing