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  • Ian Bailey

Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, corruption in boxing; will it ever stop?

Another robbery was committed this weekend…Josh Taylor retained his world titles after defeating Jack Catterall 114-111, 113-112 on two scorecards, with the third judge giving the verdict, still by an inexplicably tight margin, 113-112 to the challenger.

This wasn’t a close fight where the judges were swayed by the partisan crowd…it was a robbery. I am comfortable using the word because I know how it feels to give everything you have in pursuit of victory in this sport, only for (as Teddy Atlas rightly calls them) cowards, to take it away from you.

It’s important also, to dispense with the notion that these judges are incompetent, as a way of excusing their actions, at least on a moral front. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t just do a weekend course and get qualified to judge a world title fight. These three men are incredibly experienced, and have judged thousands of fights between them. In other words…they know what they’re doing, and they know what they did to Jack Catterall.

The British Boxing Board of Control have said they are going to investigate the decision. Basically, they’re going to review the fight, and ask the judges to explain their decisions. This has happened countless times, and almost invariably, nothing happens. The board will usually accept the judges explanation…and nothing will be done. By the time they announce the ruling of any investigation, the public outcry surrounding the decision would have calmed down, and it’ll all be forgotten, and we all move on to the next big fight.

This case may be different, at least I hope so. This weekends fight was so controversial, it has even reached parliament. Speaker of the house of commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle tweeted; “It was a disgraceful decision by two of the boxing referees! I will be speaking with the sports minister. The result is a travesty of justice”. Boxing has also been left out of the list of guaranteed sports in the 2028 Olympics amid concerns surrounding corruption.

We are clearly closing in on a crossroads now, where if we want boxing to continue as a sport, things need to change. It’s common for those in boxing, to say “Boxing isn’t a sport, it’s a business”, meaning that it’s not fair, in the true spirit of sport, and it’s all about money, like the business world. Well, that may be true, but if the powers that be within boxing want to continue acting more like a business than a sport, then maybe it’s time for fighters, like Catterall, to start considering legal action against the BBBofC. Ultimately, a corrupt decision based on institutional discrimination, nepotism, and cowardice has led to a huge financial loss to Catterall and his family. Not to mention the effects it may have on his mental and physical health.

The sport we love, needs to change, the sooner the better. Thanks for reading, please leave your thoughts below!

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