Richardson Hitchins will move on to the next one.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the Hitchins-Jack Catterall IBF purse bid scheduled for Thursday was canceled outright, and with the matchup no longer on the table. The development came after two postponements, but the IBF declared on Thursday that there are no longer plans to proceed with the previously ordered junior welterweight title eliminator.
No firm reason was given for the inevitable cancellation, though it appears that Brooklyn’s Hitchins (17-0, 7KOs) was interested in the fight and will remain on the IBF route.
As previously reported by Boxing Scene’s Keith Idec, Hitchins is now due to headline an April 6 DAZN show in a planned title eliminator. Argentina’s Gustavo Lemos is the leading candidate to land the assignment, though the stakes are dependent on his being the highest available ranked contender when the IBF orders a new elimination bout.
Hitchins was ordered last November 29, when both parties confirmed their interest with the IBF. Matchroom Boxing is the promoter of record for both boxers but was unable to strike a deal.
The several delays in the process was speculated as means for England’s Catterall (28-1, 13KOs) and his team to buy time as they continue to pursue a more lucrative second fight with Scotland’s Josh Taylor (19-1, 13KOs). Matchroom has reportedly made three separate offers to Taylor—the former undisputed 140-pound champion—for Taylor-Catterall II, which clearly was a greater priority than to reach an agreement with Hitchins.
Catterall was considered unlucky to drop a highly questionable split decision to Taylor, who was unbeaten and retained his undisputed crown after their February 2022 meeting in Glasgow.
Efforts to make that rematch proved futile. Taylor relinquished the WBC, WBA and IBF titles in lieu of ordered mandatory title defenses as he planned to face Catterall for a second time. Efforts to stage the rematch was met with four postponements and an outright cancellation.
Taylor eventually lost the lineal and WBO championship to Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13KOs) last June and has not fought since.
Catterall has fought twice, both since signing with Matchroom. His latest win came last October when he outpointed former three-division titlist Jorge Linares over twelve rounds.
A rematch with Taylor would presumably take place above the junior welterweight limit.
Should Hitchins secure a title eliminator for his planned April bout, the winner will become the mandatory challenger to IBF junior welterweight titlist Subriel Matias (20-1, 20KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox