Ian John-Lewis has been downgraded by the British Boxing Board of Control in the wake of the controversial Josh Taylor-Jack Catterall fight, a decision that is likely to affect his chances of refereeing or judging a world title fight in the future. 

Outrage followed Catterall’s split decision loss to Taylor for the undisputed world super-lightweight title on February 26. Lindsay Hoyle, the speaker of the House of Commons who is also Catterall’s local MP, even referred the matter to the police. 

John-Lewis, along with Victor Loughlin, scored Taylor the winner, Loughlin by 113-112 and John-Lewis by 114-111.  

It was John-Lewis who was called in front of the BBBoC on Wednesday to explain his decision and they decided to downgrade him from their elite A Star class group of referees to A class. 

The Board have also lobbied the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO to keep Catterall as mandatory challenger for all four titles. 

The BBBoC statement said: “Following an internal review of the scoring of the Josh Taylor v Jack Catterall contest by all three appointed judges, the Stewards of the Board decided to call Mr Ian John-Lewis to appear before them to explain his returned card. 

“Having considered Mr Ian John-Lewis’s explanation, the Stewards of the Board decided to downgrade Mr John-Lewis from an A Star Class to an A Class Official. 

“Whilst the Board were satisfied that Mr. John-Lewis’s scorecard did not affect the overall result of the contest, the Stewards of the Board did have issue with his margin. 

“As the regulatory body for the Sport in Great Britain the British Boxing Board of Control continue to improve and maintain the high quality and consistency in scoring by our licensed officials. As such, the Stewards of the Board have further decided that in addition to each A Star Class Official being evaluated after each bout, as per current procedure, they will now also be subject to a separate individual annual review. 

“Finally, the British Boxing Board of Control have contacted the WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA supporting Jack Catterall to be made mandatory challenger for each or all Championship Sanctioning Bodies.” 

John-Lewis, a former boxer, has long attracted criticism for his work as both a referee and a judge. 

Among his more stand-out verdicts were the draw he scored in Rey Vargas’s WBC super-bantamweight title win over Gavin McDonnell in 2017. He also gave the first eight rounds to Kevin Mitchell in his fight with Jorge Linares, a card that was made redundant when Linares stopped Mitchell. 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.