IBF Featherweight Titleholder Josh Warrington to Defend Against Carl Frampton

Undefeated featherweight boxing champion Josh Warrington will defend his title against Irishman Carl Frampton this weekend in England.

Updated: Dec. 18, 2018 • 7:24 PM ET

Carl Frampton (left) is looking to win another belt this weekend.

The IBF featherweight title will be on the line this Saturday, as undefeated champion Josh Warrington will defend his belt against worthy Irish contender Carl Frampton in Manchester, England. The fight will be Warrington’s first title defense since winning the belt in May.

Warrington defeated Lee Selby by split-decision to win the title, improving his record to 27-0 with six knockouts. Fighting out of Leeds, United Kingdom, the champion believes Saturday’s bout will be the most important of his career.

“Beating Carl, who is a genuine world-class boxer, will put me on the world stage,” Warrington said via The Guardian. “It’s going to be very hard, as he’s a great fighter, but I’m very confident. There is no way I’m going to slag Carl to build a fight.

“I respect him, and we’re both in our prime. We’re going to go at it, hammer and tongs, for my world title. That should be enough, shouldn’t it? We’re not swearing and pushing each other in the buildup. But we’ll have a real scrap.”

Warrington continued, “In my head, I try to see him as this monster Carl Frampton. But when I look into Carl’s eyes, I see a bit of concern. I feel he’s uncertain. He’s concerned about where he is mentally and physically. Is he past his best? Every fighter questions if the fire is still there. But I’m preparing for Carl in peak condition.”

Including Selby, the 28-year-old Warrington has key victories over Dennis Ceylan, Kiko Martinez, Patrick Hyland, Hisashi Amagasa and Joel Brunker. Two of his six knockouts have come in his last four fights, having gone the distance in the other two bouts. Warrington, though, hasn’t fought outside of the UK since turning professional, so he’ll have a familiar advantage heading into Saturday’s fight.

Frampton won the interim WBO featherweight title with a ninth-round TKO victory over Luke Jackson in August. His record sits at 26-1 with 15 knockouts, and his only loss came to Leo Santa Cruz in early 2017, which lost the WBA super featherweight title. Frampton defeated Santa Cruz by majority decision to win the belt just six months before their January 2017 fight.

Despite losing to Santa Cruz, Frampton believes he’s still among the elite featherweights.

"Santa Cruz beat me, so I’d probably have him as number one (belt holder) in the world right now,” Frampton said via The Telegraph. “Warrington would be my number four, or number five if I put myself in there. Valdez, Santa Cruz and Russell are still my targets. After I fight Warrington I don’t want to fight anyone else other than those three."

Frampton continued, "Gary Russell, Leo Santa Cruz and Oscar Valdez (the other belt holders) are all ahead of Warrington in terms of career achievements. But I believe I can beat any one of them. I believe in my mind that I am the number one featherweight on the planet.”

Including Jackson and Santa Cruz, the 31-year-old Frampton has key victories over Nonito Donaire, Horacio Garcia, Scott Quigg, Kiko Martinez and Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. The Belfast native winning the IBF super-featherweight title made him a two-weight champion, as he previously held the unified WBA and IBF super-bantamweight titles from 2014 to 2016. Frampton also became the first boxer from Northern Ireland and only the second boxer from Ireland to hold world titles in two different weight classes.


Also on the card

• Undefeated Belfast prospect Michael Conlan will take on UK veteran Jason Cunningham.

• Undefeated former WBO middleweight champion Billie Joe Saunders will return to the ring after testing positive for a stimulant and vacating the title in October against Hungarian veteran Zoltan Sera.

• Undefeated UK fighter Mark Heffron will take on Welsh boxer Liam Williams for the British middleweight title.

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