THE now-retired Jorge Linares heaped praise on Jack Catterall after losing to the Chorley southpaw in Liverpool last night.

Linares, 38, told Boxing News his 56th fight was to be his last. The Venezuelan lost for the fourth time in a row, which means his final victory is now recorded as a fourth-round knockout of Carlos Morales well over three years ago.

Catterall, 28-1 (13), will now hope to face a more threatening challenge in his next fight, with bitter rival Josh Taylor seemingly the focus of ‘El Gato’ and promoter Eddie Hearn. The Scot took to Twitter last night to pour scorn on Catterall and his win over Linares. Both men have been at each other’s throats ever since their bout in February 2022in Glasgow, where the Scot prevailed thanks to two of the three judges favouring his work. However, to this day many believe that Catterall was robbed of a famous victory which would have given him all the belts at super-lightweight.

Linares, who, in a career spanning 21 years, has faced the likes of Devin Haney and Vasily Lomachenko, as well as Brits Kevin Mitchell, Luke Campbell and Anthony Crolla, gave his verdict on Catterall.

“He’s an amazing fighter,” he said. “He has a lot of punches, he has a very difficult talent, difficult style. For me it’s a little difficult. I respect him so I want to say congratulations to him because he’s a world champion. For me, he never lost the fight with Taylor. He’s much better than Taylor.”

Linares leaves the sport with 47 wins, nine defeats, and 29 victories inside the distance. The fan favourite also won world titles at featherweight, super-featherweight and lightweight.