Another week, another delay.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the Jack Catterall-Richardson Hitchins IBF purse bid was postponed by another week to January 18. The session was scheduled for Thursday, already a nine-day extension from the original January 2 date for their ordered junior welterweight title eliminator.
It was pushed back a second time upon request from Matchroom Boxing, the promoter of record for both boxers.
Extensions are normally granted when both parties believe the additional time can be used to come to terms.
That does not seem to be the case here. If anything, it has become more apparent that both are destined for separate opportunities. Brooklyn’s Hitchins (17-0, 7KOs) is prepared to face Catterall or anyone else on an already reserved DAZN date in March.
England’s Catterall (28-1, 13KOs) has, however, repeatedly called for a rematch versus Scotland’s Josh Taylor (19-1, 13KOs), the former undisputed junior welterweight champion. Matchroom has reportedly made three separate offers for the fight, which seems to be a greater priority than to reach an agreement with Hitchins.
Taylor defeated Catterall in a questionable split decision in their February 2022 meeting with all four major titles at stake.
It was the last time Taylor successfully defended any of his junior welterweight titles. He was subsequently forced to relinquish the WBA, WBC and IBF belts to instead proceed with a planned rematch versus Catterall. The two were forced to postpone those plans several times and outright cancel, as Taylor instead fought Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13KOs), who soundly outboxed the Scottish southpaw last June to win the WBO and lineal 140-pound championship.
Catterall ultimately moved on, though at the expense of a 15-month ring absence. The 30-year-old southpaw has since won twice, including a twelve-round decision over former three-division titlist Jorge Linares on October 21 in Liverpool.
Hitchins also won twice in his 2023 campaign. The 2016 Olympian for Haiti—representing his parents’ roots—soundly outpointed John Bauza in their February 4 battle of unbeaten prospects in New York City. Hitchins outclassed former title challenger Jose Zepeda over twelve rounds in their September 24 DAZN main event from Orlando, Florida.
Should the fight move forward, the winner of the fight will become the mandatory challenger to Puerto Rico’s Subriel Matias (19-1, 19KOs), who in the meantime will be afforded a voluntary title defense.
Per IBF Rule 9C, Catterall and Hitchins are now required to honor the ordered title eliminator to avoid disciplinary action handed down by the sanctioning body. Any fighter who abandons the purse bid process or does not honor the outcome will receive a demotion in the rankings plus a six-month probation period where they cannot participate in an IBF-sanctioned fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox