Josh Taylor's trainer fears officials will be influenced by controversial first fight in Jack Catterall rematch

Jack Catterall (left) and Josh Taylor (right)
Jack Catterall (left) and Josh Taylor (right) -Credit:Top Rank via Getty Images

Josh Taylor's trainer has called on the officials to not be influenced by the controversy in the wake of his victory over Jack Catterall ahead of their highly anticipated rematch on Saturday.

Back in February 2022, Edinburgh boxer Taylor defended his super-lightweight crown by claiming a controversial split decision win over his English rival at The Hydro in Glasgow. Catterall and his team were left livid with the performance of the judges on the night, with many high-profile figures in the world of boxing agreeing that Taylor was very lucky to hold onto his belts.

And just days before the two meet again at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, trainer Joe McInally has urged the judges not to take the contentious decision from the first bout into their scoring on the night. Speaking to Boxing Scene, he said: "That’s obviously a fear. I don’t want Josh to really leave it in the hands of the judges – I want him to be super dominant, in an ideal world. But we have got to put the uttermost faith in the British Boxing [Board of Control] applying top quality judges.

"We’ve got [judges] Kieran McCann, Mark Bates and Lee Every. Kevin Parker [is the referee]. I’m no rocket scientist, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have worked too many championship fights at this level either – same as the referee – so I think we’ve got a young panel across the board, and I hope the board has a deep conversation with them to eliminate the first fight. ‘Forget the controversy; forget this; just see the fight as you see it against two neutral, equal operators and just let it play out.’

"I just hope there isn’t any other controversy. If Jack wins, he wins fairly. If Josh wins, he wins fairly. Kudos; take your hat off; tip it to the guy, and you push on to what you’re gonna do next. There always is that fear, but it is what it is."

Despite his concerns over the officials, McInally is confident that his man can get the job done inside the distance this time around. He added: "I hope Josh gets to showcase his skill asset, and puts in a vintage performance. Likewise Jack – I hope he gets to show his skill set too, so the fight has got a good ebb and flow to it; back and forth; is good for the fans.

"The last thing I want is a repeat of the first one where there’s a lot of holding; clinching; hitting after the bell; low blows; the back of the head and stuff, and the referee getting too involved in the fight. This is a DAZN-Matchroom fight, and Josh Taylor being a Top Rank fighter – DAZN have paid him a lot of money to take the fight, and they paid that because DAZN and Matchroom had no other [big British fights] top of the bill this year, or moving forward. There’s nothing in the pipeline.

Josh Taylor's trainer Joe McNally
Josh Taylor's trainer Joe McNally -Credit:Jess Hornby/Getty Images

"I vented it to Top Rank, but it’s the flip-side of the coin – I don’t really wanna dismiss Kevin Parker as a referee, because he might be a really good referee. But for these occasions you should have an experienced one, and I think Top Rank spoke to the Board, and they’ve got every confidence in the officials that they’ve appointed for the job. So let’s see how it plays out.

"My biggest fear is I think we’ve got an under-qualified referee for the fight. His biggest fight today is [Liam] Smith-[Chris] Eubank II [when McNally worked Smith’s corner], and also Ishmael Davis v Troy [Williamson]. I do think we needed an experienced referee to handle the occasion and situation, but that’s the British Boxing Board [of Control]. That’s their problem. I just hope that the fight – people get to showcase their skills and talent, and may the best man win."