Jack Cat­ter­all tells Terry Doo­ley that, un­like some other peo­ple, he doesn’t feel the need to brag and boast


From spar­ring May­weather and Canelo to harm­ing fer­rets, ‘JC’ has a lot to say

THE hot­bed of box­ing tends to pro­duce more gar­ish and loud bloomers than shrink­ing vi­o­lets. Or maybe it just seems that way due to the fact that ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil’ and we tend to fo­cus on those fight­ers who are ever-ready with a sound­bite or an idle boast. Some do it with style and panache – Muham­mad Ali, for ex­am­ple – and can get away with it. For oth­ers, though, the style does not fit, in fact it grates and can serve the pur­pose of mak­ing their op­po­nents raise their own game.

Box­ing also re­quires con­stant con­tent, so while some fans and pun­dits be­moan the seem­ingly end­less rise of trash-talk­ing it is part and par­cel of en­sur­ing that there is al­ways some­thing, some­times any­thing, to write down or record.

It is said that self-praise is no praise, yet for some that is all the ap­proval they can get and it serves a pur­pose: at­ten­tion, solic­i­ta­tion of fur­ther praise, and good old-fash­ioned ego-stroking. For oth­ers, it is all about qui­etly and in­tently work­ing on their craft, hon­ing it to per­fec­tion un­til they reach the point where their fists do the talk­ing for them and their ré­sumé speaks for it­self.

Chorley’s Jack Cat­ter­all is one of these types of fight­ers. The 25-year-old be­lieves that his 2014 stop­page wins over Nathan Brough and Thomas Stalker, both pre­vi­ously un­de­feated, un­der­lined his in­tent to take the sport by storm and he told Box­ing News that he is finally in a po­si­tion to build on them.

“I boxed them two quite close to­gether and then had some other good learn­ing fights against Noe Nunez and Joe Hughes – it is all part and par­cel of where I’ve come to so far,” he said.

Speak­ing of ed­u­ca­tion, un­like most other fight­ers “El Gato” (The Cat) de­cided to put more ef­fort into his aca­demic work rather than his ama­teur ca­reer in or­der to study Pub­lic Ser­vices at Pre­ston Col­lege. Cat­ter­all said that he had to make a de­ci­sion based on the fact that even a suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional box­ing ca­reer is a rel­a­tively brief one and does not nec­es­sar­ily pre­pare you for what life throws at you af­ter you hang up the gloves.

“I’d al­ways boxed from the age of 10 with­out tak­ing time off, but then came a crunch time where I’m hav­ing to think about my ed­u­ca­tion and whether that is more im­por­tant to my fu­ture than fight­ing. That is when I de­cided to con­cen­trate on ed­u­ca­tion a bit more.

“You’ve got to think about what a short ca­reer this can be. It could end to­mor­row or go on for an­other five or 10 years, but you’ve got to do what you need to do to make sure you can still have a good life af­ter box­ing. “My ed­u­ca­tion means that I have got op­tions. I’m not sure what ca­reer I’ll go into, but I’ve done the ground­work and now I can con­cen­trate fully on box­ing. A lot of peo­ple who don’t get to be around box­ing al­ways seem to find us in­ter­est­ing. I met a lot of great peo­ple on that part of the jour­ney, peo­ple from school and col­lege still come to sup­port me. I wouldn’t say to ev­ery­one to put it [ed­u­ca­tion] first, but it pays to have other things to fall back on in life.”

Cat­ter­all’s quiet de­ter­mi­na­tion was writ large when he made the bold de­ci­sion to switch train­ers for the third time in his ³


short ca­reer af­ter hook­ing up with Jamie Moore’s ever-ex­pand­ing sta­ble of fight­ers ear­lier this year.

Pre­vi­ously trained by Lee Beard and then Ha­roon Headley, who guided him to a Bri­tish super-light­weight ti­tle win over Ty­rone Nurse in Oc­to­ber last year, Cat­ter­all knew that eye­brows would be raised when he de­cided to move on again.

“It wasn’t a hard de­ci­sion at all,” he re­vealed. “You have to be self­ish in this game. We have a short life in box­ing so if a de­ci­sion has to be made you make it. You al­ways get a bit ner­vous about how it would go, but I couldn’t be hap­pier with things. Ev­ery­thing has fallen into place.

“I only had a week off to re­cover from the last fight [a vic­tory over Ty­rone Mckenna in June] and went straight into this one. I’m sur­rounded by box­ers like Carl Framp­ton, Martin Mur­ray, and Rocky Field­ing who have fought for ma­jor ti­tles. I like to stay in the back­ground work­ing hard, at the same time I’m pick­ing up tips by just watch­ing the oth­ers work.

“I knew Jamie was right for me straight­away,” he added. “I had a cou­ple of places in mind that I wanted to go and have a look at, then I went for one ses­sion with Jamie and didn’t go any­where else. I hadn’t been en­joy­ing train­ing or box­ing so was think­ing of pack­ing it in. Box­ing is a dif­fi­cult sport. You are putting your health at risk for it. I’m lov­ing it now.”

The un­beaten for­mer Bri­tish cham­pion is adamant that the re­sults will speak for them­selves when he meets Ohara Davies this Satur­day (Oc­to­ber 6) in Le­ices­ter. The two could not be more con­trast­ing in both style and de­meanour – the south­paw (Cat­ter­all) against the ortho­dox fighter, North against South, one of box­ing’s quiet men ver­sus the trash-talker.

Cat­ter­all, though, has been up close and per­sonal with Floyd May­weather, so he has been at the top ta­ble of ver­bosity, as well as mea­sur­ing his own abil­ity by spar­ring the then-no. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world prior to his fight against Manny Pac­quiao in 2015. Many fight­ers have tried and will con­tinue to try to ape May­weather’s per­sona, yet they come across as mere fac­sim­i­les of a man who, let’s face it, is as shal­low as spit on dry ground him­self.

“It is strictly busi­ness with May­weather,” said Cat­ter­all. “It was like years’ worth of spar­ring ex­pe­ri­ence crammed into a few weeks. You’ve got that pres­sure of be­ing in the gym wait­ing for the best fighter in the world to spar you. It was like a circus, you had that many peo­ple in there, yet it is an­other learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I re­mem­ber the very first spar like it was yes­ter­day. I was very ner­vous. Af­ter that first spar my con­fi­dence just shot through the roof. Shar­ing a ring with some­one like that just builds it up in you. Then you get to come home and try to do the things you’ve learned. All of that was at the back of my mind, but when the bell went I had a job to do.”

Things were slightly dif­fer­ent when he went to spar Canelo Al­varez in San Diego


im­me­di­ately af­ter the May­weather job in Las Ve­gas. For starters, the Mex­i­can made small talk, al­beit in bro­ken English. Cat­ter­all’s aims and out­comes were ex­actly the same, though: learn, learn, and then learn some more.

“I was there to spar, learn, get punched, land punches, and was in with a great tech­ni­cian when I was with May­weather. Al­varez is a dif­fer­ent style, yet it was a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence –keep quiet, watch and learn.”

The mar­ket town of Chorley is a small par­ish, for­mer world ti­tle chal­lenger Michael Jen­nings hails from there and is a fam­ily friend, so Cat­ter­all was exposed to box­ing from an early age.

“I’ve done and loved box­ing since I was 10. Mike used to take us up to the gym and I’d watch his fights,” he said. “He had a lot of suc­cess as a fighter. I saw that as a kid who looked up to him. Mike fought for a world ti­tle, won the Bri­tish ti­tle, and ob­vi­ously Chorley is a small town, so I al­ways sup­ported him. To also win a Bri­tish ti­tle was bril­liant for me.”

Un­like many fight­ers, Cat­ter­all does not al­ways avidly fol­low the sport, telling

BN that you some­times need to tune out in or­der to look at your­self and your fights in iso­la­tion. It is far too easy to get bogged down in the minu­tiae of a busi­ness that can at once en­gross and eat away at you.

“I went through stages, and I’m sure ev­ery­one does, where I might be in­ter­ested in box­ing and then not as in­ter­ested in box­ing. I like to en­joy nor­mal, day-to-day life with my fam­ily. I’ve got seven broth­ers and a sis­ter, so I want to be a good ex­am­ple to them and pro­vide for us all.

“It is not nec­es­sar­ily that you are fo­cused on some­thing else, you still go to the gym and take part in box­ing, think­ing about what you are do­ing, but some­times you don’t want to watch fights every week­end. “You might not even fo­cus on any­thing else in par­tic­u­lar, you just take time out for other things. I’ve got my own plan, my own rea­sons to do things the way I do, and I don’t pay any at­ten­tion to any­one’s plans but mine. I haven’t even paid much at­ten­tion to any of the re­cent big fights be­cause it is all about my next fight.” There has been con­tro­versy, too, as Cat­ter­all hit the pages of The Sun af­ter he en­gaged in a bizarre foot­work drill that seemed to be geared to­wards try­ing to avoid stand­ing on a pair of fer­rets that were run­ning around a yard. It was caught on cam­era for pos­ter­ity and pro­moter Frank War­ren drew at­ten­tion to it by post­ing the clip on his so­cial me­dia chan­nels. Peo­ple in the North shrugged it off, Cat­ter­all is from Chorley af­ter all, but it was not a good look once oth­ers cot­toned on and made as­sump­tions about the fate of the two Mustelid train­ing part­ners. “It was some an­i­mal rights ac­tivists who got on our back for noth­ing,” he said, shrug­ging the is­sue off. “We live in an area where peo­ple are al­ways around an­i­mals and we were just hav­ing a laugh. They were OK. It was noth­ing.” Cat­ter­all’s clear in­ten­tion for the new sea­son is to an­nounce him­self on the wider box­ing scene, first by beat­ing Davies and then by work­ing his way to the top of the WBO su­perlightweight rat­ings – he cur­rently sits at num­ber two. “It is one step at a time, beat Davies then see where we go from there,” he said. “My goal is to be a world cham­pion. We have ob­sta­cles to over­come first but it is all about that.” NOTE: No fer­rets were harmed dur­ing the writ­ing of this fea­ture.



ON THE AT­TACK: Cat­ter­all forces Nurse back­wards dur­ing his 12-round points win in 2017

AIM­ING HIGH: Cat­ter­all wants a world ti­tle shot

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