Chorley fighter Jack Catterall has full respect of unified champion and next opponent Josh Taylor

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Chorley’s Jack Catterall is being treated as ‘the best boxer that ever stepped on this planet’ by his world title opponent Josh Taylor.

The two British super-lightweight stars go head-to-head next month at the OVO Hydro Arena, in Glasgow.

Undisputed world champion Taylor is the hot favourite to maintain his unblemished record when he gets in the ring with his domestic rival.

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However, former European and British champion Catterall has yet to taste defeat in 26 professional bouts and is feeling confident heading into the February 26 bout.

Josh Taylor, left, and Jack CatterallJosh Taylor, left, and Jack Catterall
Josh Taylor, left, and Jack Catterall

Taylor unified all four belts with a convincing decision over the previously undefeated Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas in May.

Catterall, 28, stepped aside to allow that contest to go ahead and now he finally has the chance to take all the belts from Taylor, who turned 31 earlier this month.

The defending champion’s trainer Ben Davison – who has worked with current WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in the past – admits he and his charge will not be taking Catterall lightly.

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He said: “I’ve got full respect for Jack. I’ve taken him on the pads before, he is a nice lad.

“But the reality of it is he has never fought anywhere near this level.

“That’s not to say that he can’t do it, but in his fight against Ohara Davies I wouldn’t say he rose to the occasion.

“Not to say he won’t rise to the occasion this time, as I said, we are preparing as if he is the best fighter that has ever stepped foot on this planet, but if he doesn’t rise to the occasion I think it could end up being a quick fight.”

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Despite their respect and admiration for Catterall, Davison is certain that Taylor will have too much for the Chorley southpaw.

“It is a big, big challenge for Jack. There is, no doubt about it, a gulf between the two of them, and if Josh turns up at 100 per cent on the night then it is a showcase performance.”

Having worked so hard to become unified champion, Davison insists Taylor is no mood to relinquish his titles and the trainer is keen to remind him of all the hard work he has put in to reach the top.

“Josh has worked his socks off his whole life to get to the pinnacle of the sport,” he added. “It doesn’t get better than that. He has got everything, he has completed it.

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“He is letting someone step in, one fight, and try to take it all off him? No way. That’s not happening. No chance.

“A shortcut to what you have had to work so hard for, no chance, you can’t allow that to happen. That is why I keep dropping that in and let him know. Not that Josh needs that. I have always been very impressed with Josh, he will always set himself new goals.

“But knowing how hard you have worked to reach where you have got to – for someone to just swoop in – not on this watch.”