Jack Catterall put two years worth of frustration and anger behind him with an exciting decision victory over Josh Taylor in their eagerly anticipated rematch.

It is two years since Catterall challenged the Scot for his then undisputed super lightweight title and – in the eyes of most observers – did more than enough to win.

Unfortunately for the 30 year old, two of the three ringside judges were among a very small minority who disagreed and Taylor was awarded a highly controversial split decision victory.

Catterall, 29-1 (13 KOs), has spent almost every day of his life being asked about the decision that denied him his dream and the possibility of a rematch.

His name will always be linked to Taylor’s, but after a hard-fought, thrilling win Catterall will be able to tell the tale of a famous victory rather than one of injustice.

Most deemed Catterall extremely unfortunate to have been denied the undisputed super-lightweight crown when the pair first met in February 2022, but the 30 year old southpaw left no room for argument this time.

There may not have been any belts on the line at Leeds' First Direct Arena on Saturday night but the joy of settling the score will be reward enough for Catterall, who can finally move on with his career without the spectre of his long-time rival hanging over him.

Catterall, 139 3/4lbs, immediately slipped into his groove, flicking out an accurate southpaw jab while Taylor, 139 1/2 lbs, found himself in the same difficult position in which he spent much of the first fight – unable to reach Catterall with his own jab but cautious of over-committing against such a sharp counter-puncher.

Taylor, 19-2 (13 KOs), tried to up the tempo in the second. He scored with a nice left uppercut but stepped in quickly and the pair clashed heads – both were stung, neither cut – before Catterall found a right uppercut and a left hand of his own. It was tense, bruising action.

Taylor's left hand stung Catterall in the third. The Chorley southpaw initially backed away and then fired away with both hands. It was certainly a sharper, more focused Taylor than the one who turned up in Glasgow two years ago, and although Catterall was having success and landing regularly with his stabbing jab, he was in a fight and fighting at a high pace earlier than he would have liked.

He remedied that in the fourth. Slowing the fight down, scoring with his jab and moving around the ring; towards the end of the round he scored with a couple of left hands and built on that momentum at the start of the fifth while getting off first as Taylor’s output suddenly dropped.

Taylor was definitely hurt by one left as Catterall re-established the weapon which worked so well for him first time around. With the left hand landing regularly, Taylor began to overthink and found himself caught in Catterall’s crosshairs. As the round ended Catterall pushed Taylor into the ropes with a hard combination, and Taylor found himself in a mini crisis.

Both were showing the scars of battle by the sixth – Catterall bruised below his left eye while Taylor’s eye appeared to be closing from underneath. The onus was on Taylor to find something to turn the tide back in his favour, but Catterall’s slick movement and ability to evade punches was frustrating him, and the counter left remained a potent weapon.

Taylor seemed to find a route back into the fight in the seventh. He began to fire a right hook to the body, which set up his best shot of the fight – a left hook to the head. He went back to the right to the body again after that, clearly sensing a weakness.

Taylor had suddenly got himself back into a close, hard fight. He spent the eighth round on the front foot and landed the cleaner shots as Catterall slightly lost his way. He found it in the ninth, setting the tone with a hard, snappy jab and putting that left hand behind it. Taylor responded. It was a close, close round, but Taylor went back to his corner, arm raised.

The fight had become one of fine margins, with rounds being decided by single clean shots. Taylor picked up his feet in the 10th and seemed to inject some pace into the fight but Catterall kept flicking out that jab and firing in the left hand. Blood was running out of Taylor’s nose but he continued to press the action, but he walked directly into a huge left hand and stepped backwards to a corner, hurt. Catterall followed him and the two tumbled to the canvas. Taylor recovered well, but the shot was the most memorable punch of the round, and it came at a crucial time.

A hard, close fight went to the final round and, having coasted to the finish line last time, Catterall attempted to accelerate across it instead. He popped out his jab and scored with any eye-catching combination, but Taylor continued to walk forward, undeterred.

The final bell sounded and the pair each raised their arms, stared at each other, and went their separate ways.

At ringside, nobody knew who had won and the fighter’s fate once again lay in the hands of the ringside judges who didn’t have it as close. Kieran McCann and Mark Bates both scored 117-111 and Lee Every saw it 116-113 – all for Catterall.