By Luke Bidwell
Though the pull-out of Dereck Chisora may have taken some public appeal off this weekend’s bill at the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, Frank Warren’s packed card contains a plethora of exciting domestic scraps. Few are more intriguing than the clash between Chorley’s Jack Catterall 8-0 (4 KOs) and Liverpool’s Nathan Brough 11-0 (2 KOs) for the vacant Central Area light-welterweight strap.
It pits together two unbeaten-yet-untested boxers aiming to become just the fourth holder of the belt since Ricky Hatton in 1999, but Catterall is aiming to steal the show on his ninth outing.
Despite only recently turning 21, Catterall has moved quickly since making his debut almost two years ago and has 34 rounds under his belt to go with first-class sparring, both in the UK and Stateside. Under the tutelage of respected trainer and manager Lee Beard, training is a constant education.
The southpaw regularly flies to the States to train with ex-IBF super-featherweight champion Argenis Mendez and spars with the typically tough Americans and Cubans. He has also shared a ring with Kell Brook and Matthew Hatton, invaluable experience for ‘El Gato’.
“I’ve been back just over a week now after six weeks in Vegas and three weeks in Miami. He [Mendez] was in training camp for a world title fight so there was plenty of sparring; Dominicans, lads from Baltimore, Detroit and all over the shop. In America they definitely have a lot more skilful fighters,” said Catterall. “Being in the gym with high-quality fighters, you’re learning all the time and picking up new things.”
The fruits of his labour have been obvious over eight professional outings, all resulting in wide points victories and encouraging promoter Frank Warren to step-up the level of opposition.
Warren snapped up Catterall’s signature earlier this year and the Chorley man impressed on his first outing, failing to drop a round in defeating Polish journeyman Krzysztof Stot. A win on Saturday boosts his profile further and he believes the increased exposure will only help his fledgling career: “It’s my second fight with Frank. I’ve built up a good fan base in my town and locally but with it being on TV in front of such a big audience, hopefully the fan base will grow even bigger.
“I boxed when [Amir] Khan fought in Sheffield and that was a big crowd in my fourth fight, but this will definitely be bigger.
“There’s at least three-or-four hundred coming [on Saturday night]; I’ve always had a good support even from the get-go but it just seems to be increasing every fight with the bigger bills.”
Catterall was still a teenager when Brough made a professional debut back in 2007. The pair have sparred, but the eight-fight novice was coy on giving away too many secrets: “It was about a year ago now. It was a matter of a couple of rounds so there was nothing much going on.
“When we’ve been down to their gym – we’ve done a lot of sparring down there – we’ve always got on well, but this time it’s a different case; it’s business this time.”
He is also acutely aware that his opponent has never fought a southpaw as a professional, but won’t be lured into thinking it makes an easy night’s work: “I’m not going to do anything different, just focus on what I do best and my strengths and abilities.
“I know that will be more than enough to claim the victory.”