IT isn’t always the case that boxing fans are spoilt for choice when it comes to televised events. But this weekend is one such occasion when Matchroom, Frank Warren and Golden Gloves of South Africa will have quality fight cards aired live on Sky Sports, BoxNation and Channel 5 respectively, meaning those choosing to watch from home will be able to cherry pick the fights they want to see.
Headlining in Hull live on Sky Sports will be Tommy Coyle in a virtually guaranteed action fight against Aussie veteran Michael Katsidis whilst Martin Murray faces Domenico Spada in defence of his WBC Silver middleweight championship, and Stuart Hall tackles American Randy Caballero for the vacant IBF bantamweight world title in the glamorous surroundings of Monte Carlo.
Perhaps the most intriguing fight however features on Frank Warren’s ‘The Magnificent Seven Fight Again’ card at the Echo Arena between Chorley’s unbeaten Central Area 10st champion Jack Catterall, 9-0 (5), and former decorated amateur, and London Olympic team captain, Tom Stalker, 9-0 (2) over 10 rounds for the vacant WBO European title.
Both fighters were already due to appear on the card, topped by Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler, with Catterall in a keeping busy match against Michael Dufek, following his second round demolition of Nathan Brough in July, and Stalker scheduled to face Welshman Chris Jenkins in an eliminator for the British title before things changed around dramatically and the two southpaws were matched in what promises to be a highly skilled encounter.
“I was kinda pissed when they announced the Jenkins fight for Stalker,” said Catterall, who had just arrived for a training session when Boxing News caught up with him this week.
“I had been promised the fight with him before I boxed Nathan (Brough). It was a case of overcome Nathan and Stalker will be next but then they announced Stalker and Jenkins would box an eliminator. I got over the disappointment and at least I was staying active but then my team started negotiations with him (Stalker) and the fight was made, which I was over the moon with.”
Trained by the highly regarded Lee Beard, Catterall has benefited from world class sparring with former super featherweight belt holder Argenis Mendez (also trained on and off by Beard since 2010) as well as frequent visits to the tough gyms of Miami. But his relative lack of success in the amateur ranks in comparison to Stalker meant that the Chorley youngster has undergone a more low key apprenticeship on small hall shows around the North West.
At just 21 Catterall is almost a decade younger than his Liverpudlian opponent who turned to the professional ranks after a prolonged stay in the vest and head guard, and they face each other with almost identical, unblemished records.
Whilst young Jack impressed when knocking out then unbeaten prospect Nathan Brough in two rounds in July to collect the Central Area title, Stalker was less impressive in a six-threes points win over Ben Wager on the same card.
And whilst Stalker’s amateur pedigree goes without question his impact on the professional ranks has been less successful since he turned over in 2013, leaving him in a must win position on Saturday.
If it’s possible for a fight between two unbeaten professional novices to be regarded as a ‘cross roads’ affair, this fight could be it because at aged 30 where does the Scouse southpaw go should he lose?
“He is in a position, given his age, were they have to get fights that they think will progress his career along,” said Catterall
“It is a good fight for both of us but he isn’t in a position to turn these fights down at 30 years old.
“To me he hasn’t looked good at all since he turned over so what can they do? They had to take this fight. I’m only 21 and I am not being rushed by anyone. I feel comfortable that I will win this fight in the lion’s den of his home town.
“He will need to get on his bike like he always does and throw hundreds of punches but that ain’t gonna work because I know that I can match him punch for punch and combination for combination.”
The two fighters have shared gym time with each other numerous times when Stalker was under the guidance of Paul Stevenson at the Everton Red Triangle gym in Everton. The 30-year-old has since moved on to the MGM Marbella gym and Seamus Macklin, but Catterall believes he saw plenty of flaws that he can exploit on Saturday night.
“He will be fired up for the fight but when the bell goes it will be all wrong for him. He has been hit clean many times by the guys he has been facing. He doesn’t move his head at all and he drops his hands, I know this from sparring.
“He hasn’t shown much, if any, improvement since he turned pro and a lot of people are talking me up as a favourite in this fight. But I don’t really look into that sort of stuff. He will be feeling the pressure because it’s a must win fight for him. Also pulling out of the Jenkins fight will have been a burden on him because that decision upset a lot of people.”
When the bell rings Catterall will have Lee Beard back in his corner after the trainer was forced to miss his charges KO win over Nathan Brough because of commitments in the US with rising welterweight star Cecil McCalla.