By Matt Bevan
Chorley’s WBO Inter-Continental super-lightweight champion Jack Catterall admits that he is struggling to find an opponent for his scheduled title defence at the Manchester Arena on December 19.
The 22-year-old is due to make the third defence of the belt he won back in March and claims that his team have made numerous calls to other domestic fighters, only to be turned down.
However, Catterall (13-0, 8 KO’s) revealed to Boxing Scene that should he come through with a win on the undercard of next month's Andy Lee-Billy Joe Saunders world middleweight title showdown, he will be in a big fight in early 2016, with former WBA Interim champion Mauricio Herrera being discussed as a potential opponent.
Catterall said: “It’s a quick turnaround from my last fight in October, but I had a week out of the gym and I’m raring to go again. We are struggling to find an opponent though, which is a bit annoying. We’re hoping for some news soon.
“I’ve been told that if I come through, then I’ll be in a big fight early next year and Mauricio Herrera is in my sights. We’ve discussed it, but I need to get the win in December and then we can make the fight. I need fights like that, as they put a bit of fear into you, which is what you need to go up to that next level.”
The Chorley southpaw has enjoyed plenty of success and rave reviews since a breakout win in his ninth pro outing over Nathan Brough in July last year, who he sensationally stopped in two rounds to win the Central Area title.
Catterall was also in superb form in his next fight, where he put on a clinic and stopped Thomas Stalker, the former Team GB Olympic captain, to really put himself on the radar in the super-lightweight division.
However, he isn't as happy with some performances in 2015, in particular his last win over Jarkko Putkonen. Despite winning all 10 rounds, he says he was a little bit flat and should have done better.
“Looking back over the past year or so, it has been amazing for me, starting with the win over Brough. He was a top amateur, unbeaten and expected to go places, but I stopped him in two and haven't looked back since.
"Frank Warren (Catterall's promoter) gave me another big opportunity and a chance for more exposure with the Stalker fight, which I took advantage of and stopped him. I had some big momentum going into that and there was no way I was losing that night.
“But this year hasn't been as good at times, in particular my last fight. You always want to put on a good show for the people who have spent their hard earned money on tickets, but I didn't do that with Putkonen.
“He was unbeaten at the time and was in great condition, but he took a couple of shots and lost his ambition, which makes it dull. It’s 10 rounds in the bank though and I did what I had to do, but I want an opponent who comes to win.”
Catterall puts a lot of his success down to the faith his promoter has placed in him and trainer Lee Beard whose contacts overseas have seen him share the ring with Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez in sparring this year, an experience that has benefited him greatly.
“I’ve got a great team around me. Lee has been so good for me, taking me all over the country and abroad for some unbelievable sparring.
“The experience of sparring with Mayweather and Alvarez was amazing, but in the UK I’ve been in with Kell Brook and Amir Khan, so being in camp with them is fantastic and shows me how hard I have to work."
“I’m in a great gym, where we all work hard and share a great bond. Some of the other lads are picking up titles as well, so success breeds success and with us all pushing each other like we do, we can only get better and better.”
Matthew Bevan is part of Boxing Scene's UK team. Follow him on Twitter @MBevs68