Jack Catterall returns to the ring on April 27 at the SSE Arena, Wembley, as he seeks to keep himself in fine fettle ahead of his forthcoming WBO world super lightweight title shot against Maurice Hooker later this year. In his latest Fighter Diary, Jack looks back on his last fight against Ohara Davies, reports on a scouting mission to watch Hooker in action and reveals his ideal fight should he become world champion.
FIGHTER DIARY BY JACK CATTERALL
MY LAST FIGHT against Ohara Davies wasn’t what people expected and didn’t live up to expectations, I must admit. It wasn’t what I expected either, really, but on the flip side of that looking back now, I executed the gameplan very well and did what I needed to do to win the fight.
That was to dis-arm him really. I never set out to be in a dull fight that disappointed because I honestly thought that with my boxing and counter punching I would have had more of an effect, but he kind of made the fight easy for me because I wasn’t given an awful lot to work with.
It did look like I was wary of his right hand and he was wary of throwing it. When he runs out of options – or even when he’s not run out – he is coming to knock you out with that right hand and I am not daft, he looks like he carries power with it.
He didn’t hit me with one!
I definitely didn’t think it was a close fight, but it depends on what you like watching. There were a couple of close rounds but I did think I was boxing much cleaner, was more accurate and did more than enough to win.
He wasn’t throwing much but, saying that, every round he was coming out off his stool saying ‘I’m gonna knock you out’ but I honestly believe that the way I dealt with the fight on the night was smart. I took no punishment and did more than enough to win without taking too many risks.
Sometimes you can play to the crowd and of course I want to be involved in good memorable fights. That wasn’t to be on the night, but I took no damage and did what I had to do to get the win.
It wasn’t like I had to take the fight and I had a lot to lose in terms of my world title shot. I’ve had a lot of domestic fights where it would have been hard to come back if I had lost. From where I see myself going, I have taken a lot of fights where it has been a massive risk against not a lot of reward and this was one of them.
In March I took myself off to New York to watch Maurice Hooker defend his WBO world title against Mikkel LesPierre as a bit of a scouting mission before I take him on as mandatory challenger.
We only went to the fight and it went better than expected really. I treated it like a work trip, just in and out, because I am not a loud person and didn’t want to make too much noise.
The way it unfolded went well for me, I got a bit of publicity from it and people know now that I am the No.1 contender. He certainly knows it and I made a statement by travelling out to watch him, which I think was a smart move.
I got to see him up close again for the second time and now I am even more convinced that I can beat him. I saw him before the fight, a couple of hours before the show started, and I wished him luck for the fight.
So he knew I was there and then you will have seen the little clip in the ring when he got his victory. He let me know that I would be getting my shot at the title soon enough.
He has since called me a ‘little grasshopper’ twice, which I am not happy about. I don’t even know what he means by it or is trying to get out of it.
Looking at the fight in comparison to when he beat Terry Flanagan, I would say that it wasn’t his greatest performance and he was much better against Terry and in his first defence.
Whether him going downhill is to do with weight issues, I know he struggled to make it this time, so maybe that is why he didn’t perform.
I didn’t think the opponent, even though he was undefeated, had really earned a shot at the title and I was a bit surprised over the success he had in snippets in the fight. I though Hooker would make a statement with this guy and blow him out of the water, but it proved to be different.
He is an awkward customer though with his long reach and the height, but if you look at my record I have boxed them all and had plenty of tall opponents like Nathan Brough, Tyrone McKenna, Tyrone Nurse – and Ohara with his extra-long arms!
I am still in the waiting room for my shot at the title and it seems like he is going to have another fight before defending against me. I’m hearing he will have a summer defence as a homecoming in Dallas and I’m hoping not too long after that we can get it on.
I am prepared to go to America if needs be and there are a couple of ways I have looked at it. As a child, when you think of big fights, you always dream of winning in America and fighting away from home. I know he is the champion and you have got to make a statement and really take the belt off him.
It honestly won’t bother me where the fight is, whether it is over here or over there.
I am definitely happy and grateful for the opportunity to get a fight at Wembley because it will keep me in a good place physically and mentally. I am under no illusion going into this fight that I have got to treat every one like a world title.
I’m hoping to pick up a good win on April 27 and really kick on from then. It is a catch 22 because I can’t sit on the fence, not be active and earn no wages until my shot. I’ve just got to get a win and go from there.
The World Boxing Super Series is going on in the background in the meantime and the favourites to win it in my book are either Josh Taylor or Regis Prograis. I do pick Josh over Prograis slightly, although I have not seen too much of the American.
My ideal scenario would be for me to win my world title and Josh to win the WBSS. Then we could get together for a unification fight.
I’ve thought about fighting Josh because I’ve got to be looking at all the guys in the top ten in my division. Everyone is with different promoters but these fights are always possible. For me it is an obvious fight for the future.
I have definitely got the beating of him and I think I have got the beating of all the guys if I prepare right.