The waiting game
Jack Catterall fancies a trip to Leeds.
On 30 July to be precise, to take in the British light-welterweight title fight between Tyrone Nurse and Tommy Coyle.
Coyle’s name has been memorably associated with the fringes of the lightweight division over the years, thanks to fights against Derry Mathews, Daniel Brizuela and the all-Hull clash with Luke Campbell.
The former Central Area and IBF International lightweight belt holder now gets his first crack at a Lonsdale belt, but at 140lbs.
“I thought the winner of [Nurse-Limond] would fight the winner of me and Joe [Hughes], and it would be the next fight for me,” Catterall (15-0, 9 KOs) said.
Then came news from the British Boxing Board of Control on 9 June that Nurse would be making a voluntary defence against Coyle, in a contest promoted by Eddie Hearn, with the winner to box Catterall ‘when called upon to do so’.
“Initially when I read it I thought ‘For fuck sake’ but it’s boxing," Catterall said.
"You just got to be patient and deal with it. Been back in the gym a good week or two after my [last] fight. [It’s a] bit disappointing someone jumping up from lightweight and getting a shot at the British title straight away, but that’s boxing. All I can do now is focus.
“My British title fight has to happen before the end of October. I don’t want to be sitting on the shelf for that long. Just be a case of getting a fight in the meantime, a six-eight round fight. Somebody who can give me the rounds, and just staying active. [I’m getting] loads of quality sparring. I'll stay amongst it all and just wait for my time.”
Catterall, trained by Lee Beard in Manchester, and promoted by Frank Warren, rose to prominence early on in his professional career. In just his ninth professional fight Catterall took out the useful Nathan Brough in two rounds to win the 140lbs Central Area title, and backed it up with another eye-catching performance against Tom Stalker, dropping the former Team GB captain twice before stopping him in the eighth round.
Nominated for the prestigious Boxing Writers’ Club Young Boxer of the Year Award in 2015, Catterall’s reputation has grown even further thanks to sparring Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez, taking bags of confidence away with him on each occasion. A lot has happened for the Chorley southpaw in a short space of time but he doesn’t believe it’s been too much too soon, which has perhaps led to some flat performances of late.
“I just take things with a pinch of salt,” Catterall said.
“One minute everybody can be up your arse and this, that and the other. People get carried away and then one bad performance… you go online and everyone’s talking shit. You can go one way or the other. You can either let it get to you or you can have thick skin. A pat on the back is fine, but you have to take the critics as well. It wasn’t a perfect fight [against Joe Hughes last time out] but for me it wasn’t about that. I won the fight to get my mandatory shot. People have said to me ‘Ricky Hatton won this belt at that age’. I think ‘Yeah, all well and good but I’m just doing what I can do, and that’s all I can do.’”
A relaxed Catterall knows that he has time on his side, the older he gets the better he will get.
"I turned pro at 19, did my apprenticeship. Got to 7-8 fights and started taking opportunities. It come good for me. I took the opportunities and on the back of that it raised my profile. Had some good learning fights since then, but I’m always in the gym and I’m always learning. I look around at other people watching what they’re doing, like anybody. You get some people who are exceptions that win all these big titles early but for me I feel at a good age. I’ve had no injuries and I feel this is the right time to pick that British [title]. I look at my division and think I’d be quite comfortable in keeping it outright and getting three defences of it.”
Current champion Tyrone Nurse is two defence away from keeping the prestigious Lonsdale belt outright. The 26-year-old won the vacant title second time around against Chris Jenkins, after a majority draw in their first bout, Nurse made his first defence in Glasgow back in May, when the Yorkshire stylist outgunned and out-thought the veteran Willie Limond, with a ninth-round stoppage win, in the Scot’s back yard.
Attention now turns to Nurse v Coyle.
“I think Tyrone’s a better boxer. He’s got skills,” Catterall said when discussing the fight.
“He managed to get an old Limond out which is fair enough. Everybody’s got a chance but I don’t think Nurse has much power at 10st. I think he’ll have too much skill for Tommy. Tommy comes rushing in and could get caught, but at the same time I think the weight might be better for Tommy coming up. He might have more pop. Tyrone could get caught early and gets caught throughout fights. I saw him get caught off a jab from Dave Ryan and go down. I think he’s vulnerable. Not too fussed who wins it. Whoever wins it that, that is who I’ve got to set my mind on. Just get it done and let’s get mine on.
“I’ve not been to many Sky shows recently, but I think I might go up for that one. Have a little watch, travel up to Leeds then it’s my time.”
The news of Nurse v Coyle may have irked Catterall initially but the contender isn’t letting it eat away at him. He’s content to bide his time, work on things in the gym, sharpen those tools for his inevitable title shot. He’s excited, he’s eager and he fully believes he has enough ability to beat the winner.
“Against Nurse and Coyle, what I think the big thing is being able to adapt on the night. Gameplan a, b, c and d. Anything could throw you off, but it’s about getting in the ring and adjusting on the night to whatever. I can’t think too much about what Tyrone is going to do with his height and spaghetti arms, and Tommy Coyle thinking he’s macho man coming after me. I can’t think too much about that. It’s what Jack Catterall is going to be inflicting on them.”