Undefeated super lightweight Jack Catterall is widely regarded as one of the most promising talents on Frank Warren’s stable.
With a record of 22-0 with 12 knockouts, the southpaw – of Chorley, Lancashire – has his crosshairs firmly planted on Houston’s WBO champion Maurice Hooker, who earlier this year outpointed compatriot Terry Flanagan to claim the title vacated by Terence Crawford.
However, before ‘El Gato’ can contemplate challenging for a World title, he must first dispatch of the challenge presented by domestic rival Ohara Davies – one of British boxing’s most polarising characters – at Leicester Arena in Saturday night’s main event.
Also known as ‘Two Tanks’, Davies is an awkward, rangy, athletic operator who carries serious venom in his right hand, as exemplified by his victory against Congo’s Paul Kamanga; one of the most spectacular knockouts of this year so far.
Like Catterall, the Hackney man previously harboured World title aspirations of his own – embarking on a 15-fight undefeated streak and claiming the WBC Silver title in the process – before those aspirations were temporarily derailed last year in Glasgow at the hands of Josh Taylor, who soundly outclassed Davies on the way to a seventh-round stoppage.
Despite being vilified in certain quarters for supposedly ‘quitting’ in the Taylor fight, Davies rebounded admirably with a destructive sixth-round knockout win against undefeated Liverpudlian Tom Farrell, and two additional wins following a deeply turbulent 2017 with a controversial departure from former promoters Matchroom Boxing.
There still remain – perhaps understandably so – numerous question marks surrounding Davies’ ability to overcome in-ring adversity. Nevertheless, Davies is supremely confident of taking Catterall’s ‘0’ – presumably, in similar fashion to how his own undefeated record was forever tarnished by Taylor in 2017.
In a fight against Catterall where he is highly likely to encounter adversity, Davies will no doubt be absolutely determined to prove that he is not what some of the most uncharitable critics suggest: a frontrunner who, although impressive offensively, is susceptible to capitulating under pressure.
Meanwhile, Catterall – as the marginal favourite in one of this year’s most intriguing British showdowns – impressed last time out in June, after stepping in on two weeks’ notice to resoundingly defeat Belfast’s Tyrone McKenna on away soil.
Against McKenna, Catterall displayed spiteful punching power and boxing skills against a rangier opponent, and this weekend he will also be looking to showcase these to a wide audience and advance his career, in addition to silencing Davies with a dominant performance.
Expect Catterall to do just that in a high-intensity, high-stakes shootout; one where one punch could very well be decisive, for either fighter.
Alongside Lyon Woodstock against Archie Sharp, the undercard also features Greenwich’s heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois against durable, charismatic veteran and former World title challenger Kevin Johnson.
The self-styled ‘Kingpin’ – of Atlanta, Georgia – is well-known and well-liked on British shores, following defeats to Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora and Anthony Joshua respectively.
In 2015, Johnson, a wily, scrappy defensive spoiler renowned for his toughness – having taken Vitali Klitschko the distance in an ultimately unsuccessful challenge for the WBC title – was brutalised and stopped for the first time by Anthony Joshua in two rounds.
After subsequently announcing his retirement and making a comeback, Johnson has recently suffered a unanimous points loss to Kubrat Pulev before rebounding with a seventh-round stoppage of Francisco Pianeta.
Meanwhile, Dubois – the English heavyweight champion – most recently stopped Tom Little in five rounds, showcasing a patient, predatory approach complemented by a powerful left jab and methodical shot selection.
Johnson will be looking to harness his experience in ensuring that his forth venture to the UK is a fruitful one by upsetting the young favourite Dubois; someone who, like his counterpart Joshua, will probably be looking to make a statement with an early demolition job.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @hombre__obscuro