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Josh Taylor should be alive and kicking says medical expert

Written by Oscar Pick

According to a British boxing consultant, Josh Taylor has had plenty of time to recover from his eye ahead of his much-anticipated fight with Jack Catterall.

This Saturday, the two will finally face each other at the First Direct Arena, Leeds, following their clash in 2022.

The long-awaited rematch – scheduled for April 27 – was delayed when Taylor revealed the pressure in his eyes was “too high.”

Dr Neil Scott, Consultant Maxillofacial / Head & Neck surgeon and medical adviser to the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC), commented: “All I can say is that it is a valid reason for the delay.

“In terms of boxers with elevated intraocular pressure, the increased pressure in the ball itself, it’s not a very common thing that we see.”

While Dr. Scott is confident that Taylor will be completely fit come fight night, Catterall suggested otherwise.

The questionable scoring that followed their first contest—in particular, Ian John-Lewis’ 114-111 card—is well documented.

Team Catterall responded with a bang as the former undisputed champion emerged victorious.

But the interesting story, which Catterll used during the build-up to their second super-lightweight bout, is that Taylor, 33, is damaged goods.

After minor eye surgery in February, Taylor is not taking the risk of damage to his vision lightly, despite Catterall pointing out and joking that this was the third time he has had to sit out due to injury.

“From the time he intervened [in February]there was an appropriate time to agree [his eye pressure to reduce],” said Dr. Scott.

Symptoms of intraocular problems can include blurred vision, double vision and issues with deep vision.

“As you can imagine, those three things can be a problem in the ring,” added Dr. Scott.

“Eye problems can hamper your ability in everyday life, let alone high-level sports.”

Before he could defend his undisputed title, Taylor suffered a knee injury that delayed Catterall’s long wait for world recognition.

Then after the two clashed, a rematch was arranged a year later. That was until Taylor tore her plantar fascia and their contest – scheduled for February of last year – was called off. Instead, Taylor fought Teofimo Lopez in June.

As a result, Catterall, left frustrated by the unusual nature of his training camps with Jamie Moore, promised to deliver a match that would end his rival’s career once and for all.

Having said that, he suggested that Taylor’s injury has caught up with him, saying that Taylor is no longer the pound-for-pound fearsome star that he once was.

For any fighter, the temptation to think that his next opponent might be over the hill is, obviously, a dangerous place.

Leeds, UK: Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall face each other for the first time in a week before their Grudge rematch on Saturday night at the First Direct Arena, Leeds. 21 May 2024 (Photo by Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing).

Pointing out that Taylor may be on the wane, however, doesn’t mean Catterll will go into his conference Saturday night unprepared.

Rather, it can be said that he is simply showing the fulfillment of what his opponent will bring to the ring.

There should be fulfillment, too, for Taylor, who will probably know that any damage to his eyes can lead to potentially dangerous consequences.

A direct hit from the eyeball, like the one that cut Taylor below his right eye in the middle of their first fight, would also risk increasing the pressure between his cornea and lens.

As big as that risk may be, there is a clear desire for Taylor to remove any doubt that he is capable of outright defeating his home rival.

While eye injuries may not be at the forefront of Taylor’s mind when he enters the ring, they are, in the BBofC’s opinion, strictly employed.

Every licensed boxer in the UK will have a formal eye test, which measures intraocular pressure, as part of their annual medical procedure.

Then it is up to the fighter to produce a performance where direct damage to their eyes is minimized, something, even if they defend themselves at all times, are not very easy tasks.

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