LOCKDOWN DIARY: JACK CATTERALL
JACK CATTERALL IS, unfortunately, all too familiar with the experience of having the pause button pressed on his pursuit of the pinnacle in the super lightweight division.
While virtually all of us are currently on hold when it comes to watching or participating in top level sporting activity, for Catterall it is pretty much just more of the same.
It is not that Catterall, 26, was first placed in the waiting room without good reason. The Chorley boy has long since cemented himself as the No.1 contender for the WBO crown in his division. The difficultly has come with converting his mandatory status into an actual challenge.
Maurice Hooker was the champion when fighting Catterall was dictated to be an obligation. Having taken the title from Terry Flanagan, Hooker was summoned straight into mandatory action against the previously unbeaten and highly-touted Alex Saucedo.
Having recorded a seventh round stoppage on away territory, Hooker was entitled to a voluntary defence and duly accepted the challenge of Mikkel LesPierre, with Catterall watching on intently from ringside.
Hooker acknowledged his presence and told him his time would soon come, while also strangely labelling his forthcoming foe as a ‘little grasshopper’…
However, it was Hooker who was caught on the hop next time out when, having accepted a unification fight to sidestep a mandatory, he was vanquished by the WBC champion Jose Ramirez in July of last year.
While Catterall could be consoled over the fact he would now by fighting for two world title belts, this new development brought about a further issue and delay.
Both the WBC and WBO titles were due for immediate mandatory assignments and, in this instance, the WBC obligation took precedence.
The result of all this was Ramirez being booked in to fight Viktor Postol in, of all places, China in February. Suffice to say it didn’t happen due to the early outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan. At the time, the virus had killed 18 people in China and the subsequent global spread was not being widely predicted.
A new date was required and was finally scheduled for May 9 in Fresno, a fight card that has already been aborted.
Catterall will face the winner but when is anybody’s guess.
Meanwhile, the unbeaten Catterall, 25-0, has been forced to sit tight and aside from a relatively routine run-out against Timo Schwarzkopf in November he has been playing the waiting game.
He is making productive use of his time at the moment having recently moved house and been assigned the duty of sorting out the garden.
“It’s going to have a room at the back, a bit of astroturf and all that,” relayed Catterall, who admits some personal space has been allocated during his planning. “It will have a bit of a man cave!
“We are just a couple of miles up the road from Chorley, so I have gone upmarket, haven’t I? I could do with a fight though to pay for it.
“All this just feels like normal for me at the moment with sitting at home, doing f**k all and scratching my head! It is just the same apart from the gym being closed but fortunately enough I’ve got a few bits of equipment that I can use and I can go on my bike.
“I am not getting the guidance of my coach but I am keeping fit and active, while getting a few jobs done around the house.”
Working from home does have one fringe benefit for this now Jack of all trades in that he doesn’t need to remember at all times to tie up his shorts or tracksuit bottoms for fear of continual de-bagging, which is a frequent activity in the fighting emporium run by Jamie Moore and his coaching sidekick Nigel Travis.
“Exactly!” reacted Jack with a sigh. “I’ve been caught three or four times, easy. It is not always the same person because it has caught on a bit and everyone knows that when Tommy Coyle was in the gym it is pants tight and on the defensive straight away.”
Catterall was actually on his way to China when he got wind of the Ramirez-Postol encounter being subject to relocation, but never imagined it would end up with the whole of boxing awaiting a new date.
“At the time when it was scheduled for February 1, a couple of days before I was in Dubai and half way to China. The second leg of my journey was to Haikou. I started getting messages saying it was not looking good and my nutritionist said he didn’t want me going because I might get ill.
“My girlfriend said the same, then it got cancelled anyway and I was on my way home. It is scary to think I probably had a lucky escape.
“In an ideal world this fight would have gone on in February with Ramirez beating Postol – although, for me, Postol is not to be overlooked – and it would have been a good enough fight with nobody getting injured.
“He then could have rested for the rest of February and most of March before getting ready to fight me in May. Also Josh Taylor would have fought his guy around the same time.
“As it is we are all waiting for the gyms to open and then I will still be waiting for the outcome of Ramirez v Postol. I am under the impression I am going to have to fight again and it is a case of having to.
“It is who you fight and I don’t want to be in a s**t fight. I have boxed everyone at domestic level really and, when you look at the Golden Contract final, I have beat both of them. I probably won’t get the credit for boxing a foreigner, but going into a world title fight I really don’t care.
“I just want to get back to work and I am sure everybody is eager for that to happen, all the promoters, TV networks, everybody.”