It will be tough for Josh Taylor’s year to get any better than when he claimed the undisputed junior welterweight championship.
A homecoming for his next title defense will at least rate as a very close second.
Scotland’s Taylor (18-0, 13KOs) is set to move forward with his WBO-ordered mandatory title defense versus England’s Jack Catterall (26-0, 13KOs). The bout will take place December 18 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, as confirmed by Taylor while in Belfast for a recent ESPN+ telecast headlined by featherweight contender Michael Conlan.
“I haven’t boxed at home for over two years. It’s [going to be] good to be back at The Hydro,” Taylor told ESPN+ ringside reporter Michelle Phelps. “I’m happy to be back and provide a fight for my home fans.”
Taylor—who hails from capital city Edinburgh—has spent literally half of his pro career in Scotland. Included among the lot were four straight headlining appearances at The SSE Hydro in 2018-19, including wins in the first two rounds of the World Boxing Super Series. The last of the lot came in May 2019, when Taylor outpointed unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk to win the IBF title, his first major belt as a pro.
Three straight wins have followed outside of Scotland, beginning with an October 2019 twelve-round, majority decision over then-unbeaten WBA titlist Regis Prograis in Manchester, England. Taylor unified two titles with the win, having since claimed all four major belts at 140 pounds following his hard-fought twelve-round, unanimous decision over WBC/WBO champ Jose Ramirez (26-1, 17KOs) in their May 22 undisputed championship clash at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
With the win over Ramirez came an inherited mandatory title defense. Catterall agreed to step aside to allow Ramirez to face Taylor, with the agreement of his landing the winner. Taylor was more than happy to oblige, particularly with the opportunity to turn the fight into a homecoming event.
“Jack’s a good lad, a very good fighter as well. He’s very patient to wait for this opportunity,” acknowledges Taylor. “He stepped aside. Now I’m giving this fight he’s been waiting for. It’s a tough fight but I’m going to win.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox