Jack Catterall ended his second consecutive lengthy layoff with a dominant performance.
The former title challenger—many who have hailed as the uncrowned 140-pound champion—backed up his claim of being levels above Australia’s Darragh Foley. Catterall scored two knockdowns en route to a lopsided decision win. Scores 99-88, 98-89 and 97-90 all landed in favor of Catterall in their DAZN-aired co-feature Saturday evening from AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Caterall—who hails from nearby Chorley—entered to a hero’s welcome for his first fight in 455 days. The bout was his first since a controversial split decision defeat to then-undisputed Josh Taylor (19-0, 13KOs) last February 26 in Glasgow, Scotland. Multiple postponements and an eventual cancellation of their planned rematch left Catterall with a 15-month ring absence for his second straight fight.
Conversely, Foley entered as the underdog but with the best momentum of his ten-year-career. The Kent County-born southpaw—who lives and trains in New South Wales—won his previous five starts, including an upset third-round knockout of Robbie Davies Jr. just 11 weeks ago in Liverpool.
Still, he was dismissively regarded by Catterall as a domestic-level fighter well beneath his skill level. It showed in their ten-round junior welterweight affair, as Catterall consistently scored with his jab along with right hooks and straight left hands behind it.
Foley failed to make the necessary adjustment to avoid the more telling blows of Catterall, who connected with a left to the body and right hook upstairs late in round one. The sequence was just a sample of the boxing lesson doled out by Catterall, who routinely landed in combination.
A left hand upstairs snapped back the head of Foley in round four, drawing a rise from the partisan crowd who celebrated every punch landed by Catterall. Foley enjoyed minor success midway through round five, as he pushed forward and was able to land with winging left hands. Catterall shut down the sequence with a series of jabs to drive back Foley.
Time was called near the end of round six to allow Foley to recover from a low blow. Catterall attempted a left uppercut downstairs but landed below the beltline of Foley’s trunks. Trainer Jaime Moore advised Catterall in between rounds on how to correct that and find more space to better leverage his power shots.
An immediate adjustment was made by Catterall, who scored the bout’s first knockdown at the one-minute mark of round seven. Catterall floored Foley with a left hand, but referee Howard Foster was slow to intervene and officially rule a knockdown. Foley sprung to his feet, at which point Catterall hit him with another left, which resulted in a point deduction after Foley was issued a mandatory eight count.
Foley was back on the deck early in round nine. Catterall came out of a brief break after Foley tried to sell a low blow, and launched an overhand left to send the visiting southpaw crashing the canvas. Foley beat the count but was on unsteady legs. Catterall sought to close the show but expended a lot of energy and showed visible signs of fatigue towards the end of the round.
Foley bravely fought on to the final bell, though was forced to absorb an assortment of fouls for his troubles in the final round.
A right hand by the Australia-based Irishman sailed over the top of Catterall’s head before a left hand caught him well below the belt. Foley dropped to his knees in one corner while Catterall was admonished on the opposite side of the ring by the referee. Foley then played to the crowd before he was tossed the canvas during a clinch. He let his hands go in the closing sends but was sent home with his first loss in nearly four years as he fell to 22-5-1 (10KOs).
Catterall (27-1, 13KOs) secured his first win in 30 months, though there remains a healthy portion of the sport who feels he should still be unbeaten. The last time his arm was previously raised in victory was November 2020, as he waited 15 months for a mandatory shot at Taylor. He was well ahead through eight rounds, including a knockdown, but faded in the final four rounds which provided room for judges Ian John-Lewis (114-111) and Victor Loughlin (113-112) to score it for Taylor.
Judge John-Lewis was demoted from his A-star officiating status as the result of his poor scorecard, though the loss remained on Catterall’s record.
Catterall can now move forward with his career after he won in his first fight since signing with Matchroom Boxing. Also recently inked by the global promotional outlet is two-time and reigning WBC 140-pound titlist Regis Prograis (28-1, 24KOs), who defends versus Puerto Rico’s Danielito Zorrilla atop a June 17 DAZN show from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Headlining the show, Leigh Wood (26-3, 16KOs) aims to regain his WBA featherweight title and avenge a knockout loss at the hands of Mauricio Lara (26-2-1, 19KOs), who was grossly overweight and forced to vacate the belt.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox