Jack Catterall couldn’t seriously consider an IBF elimination match with Richardson Hitchins when an offer for the higher-profile, more meaningful fight he truly wants was presented to him.

The English southpaw has sought a second shot at Scotland’s Josh Taylor for almost two years. Unlike their first fight, their 12-round rematch won’t be a title bout, but it is much more marketable in the United Kingdom than Catterall’s fight with Hitchins would’ve been in the United States.

That’s why Catterall’s handlers didn’t go through with the IBF purse bid for a Hitchins-Catterall clash last week. It was canceled Thursday, which could lead to New York’s Hitchins (17-0, 7 KOs) squaring off against Argentina’s Gustavo Lemos (29-0, 19 KOs), the next available 140-pound contender in the IBF’s junior welterweight rankings, on April 6 at a venue to be determined (https://www.boxingscene.com/diego-pacheco-shawn-mccalman-dazns-co-feature-46-richardson-hitchins-tbd-main-event--180779).

The IBF’s purse bid for Hitchins-Catterall had already been postponed twice, primarily because negotiations were ongoing among handlers for Taylor and Catterall.

Hitchins is the IBF’s third-rated contender for its junior welterweight champ, Subriel Matias (20-1, 20 KOs), and Catterall is ranked fourth. The top two spots in the IBF’s 140-pound rankings are vacant.

“We’re almost three weeks into January now,” Catterall told IFL TV in an interview posted to its YouTube channel Saturday. “After the last fight in October [a points victory over Jorge Linares], I was told from me promoters, from me manager that we was going to make the Taylor fight. I was in a position a couple weeks ago when an offer was made for the fight, and I accepted, which ultimately meant that Hitchins fight was not on the table.

“For me, [a rematch with Taylor] is a much bigger fight, a personal fight, and a fight which I believe he’s accepted as well. So, going down the route of the IBF, although I was grateful for the opportunity, right now this is a much bigger fight for me.”

A rematch with Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) is personal for Catterall (28-1, 13 KOs) because he believes he did more than enough to upset Taylor in their 12-round fight for the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 140-pound titles Taylor held when they fought in February 2022 at OVO Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. Catterall caught Taylor with a left hand that sent the former champion to the canvas early in the eighth round and gained another point when referee Marcus McDonnell penalized Taylor for hitting Catterall after the bell sounded to end the 11th round.

Taylor still won a split decision because judges Ian-John Lewis (114-111) and Victor Loughlin (113-112) thought the Scottish southpaw did enough to retain his four titles. Judge Howard Foster scored Catterall a 113-112 winner.

Taylor, 33, and Catterall, 30, signed contracts for a rematch that was scheduled to take place last March 4 at OVO Hydro. It was postponed late last January due to Taylor’s foot injury and eventually canceled because the WBO ordered Taylor to instead defend its junior welterweight crown against his mandatory challenger, Teofimo Lopez.

Taylor suffered his first professional loss to Las Vegas’ Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), who won a unanimous decision over Taylor last June 10 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.