Jack Catterall (left) has won 28 fights and lost one since turning professional in 2012British light-welterweight Jack Catterall eased to a unanimous points victory over veteran Jorge Linares at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
Catterall, 30, was largely untroubled as he coasted to victory against 38-year-old Venezuelan Linares.
The scorecards read 116-112 twice and 117-111 to Catterall, who called for a rematch with Josh Taylor.
“It’s personal now, we’ve got a score to settle,” Catterall said.
Chorley fighter Catterall extended his record to 28 wins and one defeat – the controversial points loss to Taylor last year.
For three-weight world champion Linares, this was his ninth career loss in 56 outings.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live after the fight, Catterall added: “We knew he was going to bring it tonight. I’m my biggest critic, I probably could have done more tonight, but the respect was there and it was valuable to get 12 rounds with a legend.”
Crafty Catterall too much for veteranLinares, fighting in the United Kingdom for a fourth time, was handed a warm reception on his way to the ring.
The crowd noise turned up a notch during Catterall’s ring walk, followed by huge cheers as the home fighter entered the ring.
Perceived by many as a victim of a sporting injustice after the contentious points loss to then undisputed world champion Taylor in Glasgow, Catterall has gained a fanbase of those who sympathised with him.
With trainer Ismael Salas back in his corner, Linares looked sharper than most expected, but both men boxed tentatively in the opening round.
A clash of heads opened up a cut above an eye for Linares in the second and he began to look a touch frustrated as Catterall found his rhythm. The home fighter landed a well-timed counter hook in the fourth.
A tactical affair really caught fire in the fifth. Catterall forced Linares back into the ropes with a straight right. Catterall sensed an opening and let his hands go, finishing the round off in style.
Linares – who made his debut in 2002 – leant on his 21 years of experience to recover well and admirably edge the sixth, but his success was short-lived.
Catterall unleashed another flurry in the eighth, landing several one-twos with Linares again backed on the ropes.
Without a win since February 2020, it became increasingly apparent Father Time was catching up with Linares.
Catterall was accurate and economical with his punch selection but was guilty of coasting through the final rounds, rather than letting his hands go.
He had described Linares as a “legend” in the build-up and perhaps at times showed his idol too much respect. Or maybe he felt there was no need to get out of second gear.
‘Taylor, where are you?’At the fifth time of asking, this result means a British fighter has finally got the better of the accomplished Linares – who boasts wins over Kevin Mitchell, Luke Campbell and two against Anthony Crolla.
“I really enjoyed being in there tonight,” Catterall said. “He definitely still carries that power. When I did catch him I probably should have done more. The coach said ‘don’t make any silly mistakes’. I’m happy to get that victory.”
Catterall is ranked in the top 10 of all four governing bodies and has been targeting a world title shot, but the unfinished business with Taylor could take precedence.
“Taylor, where are you? Let’s have it,” Catterall said. “He’s said some nasty things over the last 18 months and we’ve got some scores to settle.”
There is no love lost between the pair, having traded verbal jabs over social media since their fight.
Edinburgh’s Taylor was underwhelmed by Catterall’s performance and mocked his foe for failing to stop Linares and previous opponent Darragh Foley in May.
“[Catterall] couldn’t finish a Sunday roast,” Taylor posted on Twitter.
Taylor is without a world title after losing to Teofimo Lopez earlier this year and promoter Eddie Hearn says the rematch could take place in 2024.