Tag Archives: warrington

Warrington Wins to Set Up Unification

Posted on 10/14/2019

By: Oliver McManus

Josh Warrington has become used to late nights by now; his fight against Sofiane Takoucht was no different. The opening bell rang out at the Leeds Arena just past 11.15pm – at the same time TJ Doheny was in an eight rounder in Chicago – with Warrington making the third defense of his IBF world title. The featherweight across the ring was expected to provide a ‘routine’ work-out for Warrington

The start was measured with Warrington eager not to stumble over Takoucht’s southpaw stance. The Frenchman’s lead right was a cause of some early awkwardness with both fighters treading on one another’s feet – accidentally, albeit. Warrington was willing to bide his time in doubling up on the jab and settled for ‘little and often’ in the initial proceedings. A flurry of last minute aggression signalled his intent and put Takoucht on the back-burner.

Though Takoucht was replicating the trickiness of Kid Galahad, Warrington’s last opponent, it was clear that the Champion had adapted suitably. There was an increased tempo in the second round as more punches found their range before a clean right hand caught the Frenchman brash across the face. A flash knockdown and early success for Warrington.

Photo Credit: Frank Warren_tv twitter account

Seconds later and the head of Takoucht became an open target and Warrington pursued it. Like a gorilla playing with the watermelon before devouring it, two quick shots dropped the challenger to the canvas. To his feet he rose, once more, but with the bit between his teeth there was to be no third chance; Warrington was relentless. Barrages of punches scrambled Takoucht, who just couldn’t regain his marbles, and Bob Williams showed compassion in stopping the contest in the third round. Unification surely must now be on the horizon.

Moston light-heavyweight Lyndon Arthur picked up the Commonwealth light-heavyweight title in somewhat awkward fashion. The ‘King’ was facing Emmanuel Anim, 14-2, and struggled with the unorthodox nature of the Ghanaian. Arthur grew in confidence to edge his way into the contest as Anim remained one-dimensional.

Anim, predominantly a super middleweight, looked diminutive in comparison to the macho-man figure of Arthur; 6”2’ tall and stockily built. The Ghanaian made the brighter start and put pressure on Arthur in the first round, forcing the home fighter to temporarily cover up. Anim’s ambition shook up the heavy pre-fight favourite who was struggling to establish a keen jab.

The sharpness from Anim was evident of his former life at 168lbs and he ‘lunged’ into punches far more than most light-heavyweight’s; looking to quickly change the distance of the fight. Shots swung in from all arms of the clock but the predominant success was when Lyndon Arthur tied himself up on the ropes.

To his credit Arthur, accomplished as an amateur, remained calm as he rode the oncoming storm. Perhaps looking to lull Anim into a false sense of security, there was no sense of panic as the rounds progressed. It was only a third into the contest that Arthur started to take a step back in response to Anim’s aggression; a fairly jolting reverse, rarely lateral or angular.

It made little difference to Arthur’s power which was unfurled in earnest for the first time in round four. A range-finding left jab was followed up by a sharp, striking straight right hand caught Anim on the button. The Ghanaian was down, easy as you like. That prompted more frequency to the success of the Moston fighter; a solid uppercut the pick of the punches in the fifth round.

Arthur inched his way into the contest in the middle rounds but the bout remained untidy.The movement of Anim was far superior and he was able to scamper around the ring without much resistance. In return the punches of Arthur became looser, a good thing, with spiteful power attached.

The eighth round saw Arthur in serious trouble despite the same-same attacks from Anim. Every flurry was ‘lungey’ and speculative but Arthur was failing to get to grips with that threat. Those predictable swings had Arthur writhing on the ropes in response but Anim’s inexperience proved dividends as he sat on Arthur’s chest, unable to produce a finish.

A brave response followed in the ninth with Arthur dictating proceedings. Pat Barrett did well to reassure his charge and he came out with relaxed shoulders, backing Anim up with his punches and boxing as he should have done from the start. Arthur boxed assuredly, despite relentless pressure from Anim, potentially to a fault. Urgency was required from Arthur, especially when Anim flagged, but the bout was fought at a similar pace throughout.

Not the most aesthetically pleasing of contests but an interesting one, certainly. 115-112, 117-110, 117-111 in favour of Lyndon Arthur.

There was silkier success for super-featherweight Zelfa Barrett who defended his Commonwealth title against Jordan McCorry. The tenacious Cambuslang challenger was fighting his third Queensbury fighter in quick succession. Barrett settled quickly, as he always does, and utilised the basics very well.

The nephew of Pat, former British and European champion, started quietly but efficiently. The sole loss on Barrett’s record was a fiercely-fought bout against Ronnie Clark but, that fight aside, he’s consistently been patient in his approach. McCorry is notoriously difficult to shift so there was no gung-ho approach from either fighter.

Barrett’s appreciation for the finer details is a rare commodity for a modern day fighter and his dedication to hammering hooks blasted the body of McCorry in the third round. Three in the opening couple minutes softened the guts before Barrett landed four, five in succession at the centre of the ring to visibly sap the breath out of his opponent.

McCorry came back strong in the fourth as he led the charge with optimistic punches – both landing punches, taking punches. A real ebb and flow developed to the encounter with a knockdown bringing the best out in McCorry and, in doing so, producing more quality work from Barrett. Both fighters produced quality moments and landed decent punches but, overall, the classier work was from the Manchester fighter. Barrett, for all his youth, boxing distinctly years above the 26 he possesses. More body punches took their toll on McCorry in the eighth who dropped to the canvas in sheer exhaustion.

Enough was enough in the ninth with McCorry down again and shaking his head; an exemplary performance from Barrett. At the end of the bout it was the Manchester man that took the share of the spoils, deservedly so, with the better work throughout the contest. Brave from McCorry, as we’ve come to expect, but beautiful from Barrett. Crisp, class, composed.

The televised undercard also saw two eye-catching Queensbury debuts for Shabaz Masoud (5-0) and George Davey (debut). Masoud looked fresh on his feet and picked his shots well to win 60-54 against Yesner Talavera. Davey was relaxed and looked to enjoy the occasion, flicking punches out with ease, to beat Zygimantas Butkevicious.

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Fight Preview: Warrington vs. Takoucht

Posted on 10/10/2019

By: Oliver McManus

IBF world champion Josh Warrington looks to defend his featherweight title for a third time when he faces Sofiane Takoucht this Saturday. Having cast his eyes across the horizon and to unifications Stateside, another fight in Leeds arrives very much as a ‘bonus’ for his home city.

Warrington’s first two world title bouts – against Lee Selby and Carl Frampton – were full-throated, high-tempo encounters with merely the edge of your seat required. His latest, against Kid Galahad, resulted in a more stuttery, cagey affair to test the temperament of Warrington but he scraped past. Takoucht represents a separate kettle of fish and, Warrington will hope, a more routine night of work.

The French fighter, obscurely nicknamed ‘Babyface’ despite looking every bit his 33 years, is an experienced operator having been professional since 2006. In 2010 he won the ‘Golden Gloves’ – awarded to the best French boxer each year – for his win against Oleg Yefimovych to become European champion. Since then his career has stalled substantially as he lost then regained the EBU title whilst perpetually staying busy in six and eight rounders.

Two fights for the IBF International strap, against win-some-lose-some opponents, has seen Takoucht installed at 4th in the IBF rankings. Indeed he’ll represent the first official southpaw challenge for Warrington since Dennis Tubieron in April 2015; though Kid Galahad did dally with the stance in their fight.

His sticky southpaw stance would look to be his greatest hope to upset the applecart with Warrington visibly struggling whenever Galahad operated from southpaw. Warrington was unable to dip the knees and utilise his ferocious work-rate against Galahad and was nullified for much of the fight as a result. If Takoucht can replicate those ‘spoiler’ tactics in order to disrupt the forthright pocket-pressure fighting of Warrington then it could be a very, very long night for the Leeds boxer.

Should all go to plan for the defending champion then he could move to 30-0 in breezy fashion; Warrington has proven himself against elite fighters and Takoucht has yet to step up from borderline continental. His fight against Carl Frampton was a perfect display of self-confidence transferring into the ring with a perfect game plan.

He refused to box recklessly nor get carried away when he dropped Frampton in the first round but remained resolute in boxing in bursts to ensure he was picking up rounds. It really was an impressive performance, dare you say ‘a coming of age’. Takoucht could be a banana skin but it seems more likely he’s a toffee apple ripe for Warrington to get stuck into.

The undercard sees Zelfa Barrett defend his Commonwealth super featherweight belt against Jordan McCorry. Barrett, still just 26, is becoming increasingly joyous to watch with a real respect for the ‘craft’ of boxing. ‘Brown Flash’ has grown rapidly as a fighter to collect 22 wins since turning pro in 2014 but, arguably, his sole loss has been his biggest blessing. That blemish came against Ronnie Clark in February 2018 and it is evident just how much Barrett took from that experience.

There was no licking of wounds after a very close and enthralling contest but an immediate desire to better himself and correct that wrong. A rematch, for various reasons, has yet to materialise but he has already pushed on to a different level. Against Leon Woodstock in June he boxed beautifully from range with a real slick, sleek finish to his work – nothing scrappy, nothing done by half measures. In a way he’s an ‘old school’ fighter prioritising the technique over any showmanship but – in doing so – he’s emerged as a breath of fresh air in a crowded division.

McCorry will be facing his third Frank Warren fighter in the 2019 – having already boxed Sam Bowen and Archie Sharp – but he’ll be hoping to register his first such win. Three of his last four fights have been losses. The Cambuslang man has proven himself to be a gritty operator to test the top domestic fighters but he’s yet to go one further and mount a serious challenge.

Hot prospect Lyndon Arthur is rewarded for his patience with the first title shot of his career; the Moston boxer has been picking up the wins without much fuss since debuting in 2016. Now 15-0 he’ll face Emmanuel Anim for the vacant Commonwealth light heavyweight title. The former WSB boxer has yet to look troubled with Charles Adamu the only opponent not to be stopped or kiss the canvas.

Four knockouts since have seen Arthur hit a nice rhythm and he always looks slightly more menacing than his previous contest. This fight is a real opportunity to loosen up and make a statement to open doors. Anim isn’t expected to be a stiff test, having campaigned at super middle for most of his career, but he can swing speculatively and that’s always a risk.

Fellow Team GB representative Troy Williamson gets his first title crack: against Navid Mansouri for the WBO Intercontinental super welterweight title. The fight represents a significant step up for Williamson as he fights a former English champion but the Darlington man has been relishing such a test for a while. He finds himself on a three fight knockout streak but Mansouri is likely to test his technical ability.

Mansouri has boxed exclusively in Spain since 2018 with four wins and a loss. He is a proven title fighter, mainly at super welter, with a highlight win over Sam Sheedy. The MTK fighter is penciled in to challenge Stephen Danyo at super welter in November so perhaps hedging his bets for this one.

A hatful of six rounders feature with Shabaz Masoud, Mark Heffron, Shakiel Thompson, John Jouce and Reece Mould all in action. Callum Simpson and, debutants, George Davey and Muhammad Ali greeting the early visitors in a trio of four rounders.

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Warrington Edges Galahad, JJ Metcalf and Zelfa Barrett Impress in Leeds

Posted on 06/15/2019

By: Oliver McManus

A cacophonous chorus of Leeds fanatics welcomed their home-hero Josh Warrington into the First Direct Arena in stark contrast to the hostility afforded to, mandatory challenger, Kid Galahad. The passion demonstrated by the capacity crowd is matched only by the heart of their protagonist; in a contest where he was no longer the underdog their were question marks as to how he would gee himself for the circumstances but his legionous following soon put paid to that.

Galahad set about making Warrington uneasy from the off by starting off from the southpaw stance and immediately taking to the centre of the ring. Tapping forward with his rangy front right leg, he was able to close the distance well and ensured he in control of where the fight was fought. Dominic Ingle’s charge would change stance frequently throughout the opening round, thereafter too, and succeeded in preventing the explosive bursts of aggression that Warrington has become synonymous for.

The first couple rounds saw neither corner enforce their authority with the jab of Galahad being countered by brash right hands thrown with the full tilt and twist of Warrington’s body. The ominous hushed tones of those in attendance was a testament to the nip and tuck nature of the opening rounds; Sheffield’s mandatory challenger was able to slow the pace of the contest when fighting from the southpaw stance and you began to wonder why he didn’t fight southpaw for more prolonged periods of time.

Momentum meandered as the contest unfolded as both men picked up rounds by ‘doing more’ whilst never doing enough to consistently come out on top. Warrington, having looked imperious against Lee Selby and Josh Warrington, attempted to rough up Galahad and found success but simply wasn’t able to sustain an attack in the fashion that we’ve seen before. Chopping right hands kept his challenger alert but Galahad was wise to clinch and dampen the enthusiasm of Warrington.

The sixth round saw, perhaps, the first glisten of Warrington’s sharp combinations as he shuffled Galahad onto the ropes with swinging shots to the body – a reminder of the champion’s key threat but nothing more. It seemed, mind, as though Warrington was working his way into the evenly-poised contest and looking to open up a gap in the scorecards in the later rounds. In isolation the better work was coming from the challenger, certainly in dictating the tempo of the fight, but Warrington wasn’t being bullied and was more than playing his part in a nip-and-tuck encounter.

A repetitive rhythm unfolded throughout the rounds with Galahad neutralising Warrington with his stance-switching and a well-worked jab but he stopped at that. He didn’t look to push the momentum one step forward and look to force his opponent onto the backfoot – Warrington was always there or thereabouts – and that’s a dangerous ploy against a champion in his backyard. Warrington adapted but not brilliantly and it was noticeable that he didn’t object to the holding of his challenger because, actually, it allowed him to work on the inside.

Sean O’Hagan, Warrington’s father, was in no uncertain terms that his son needed to finish the fight in style and make sure he took the ‘championship rounds’; Warrington responded with fast hands, in moments, when he was able to penetrate the guard of his challenger but Galahad was slick throughout and didn’t seem fazed by the increased aggression coming his way. An odd fight, for sure, and underwhelming, too, because neither fighter was able to cement a foothold. Galahad found most of his success from the southpaw stance so it boggled the brain that he kept on reverting to orthodox whilst Warrington showed fractional moments of aggression but looked one-dimensional in doing so. In a fight where Galahad refused to rally and run with the momentum you’d always favour Warrington getting the decision.

116-112, 113-115, 116-113 to the reigning champion, Josh Warrington, but the plans for unification are probably put on ice – take another fight, champ, and prove you’ve learned from this one.

Earlier in the night JJ Metcalf produced a classy display to claim the vacant Commonwealth super welterweight title; he knocked out, former British champion, Jason Welborn in the eighth round of their contest. Having entered this contest struggling for momentum, spending time on the sidelines due to injury, the nature of the victory was a reminder of the natural ability from the Merseyside man.

Welborn, with his tattooed torso, looked to make the sharper start with a popping left jab that lurched towards its target like a honey badger. Behind the tattoos was a weakness, however, with Welborn noticeably fragile when caught to the body; he was stopped from such a shot by Jarrett Hurd in December of last year. Metcalf clearly had that on his mind and looked to exploit that weakness from the opening phases with firm shots softening the target from round one.

Metcalf held the tempo beautifully and looked very good against his toughest opponent to date, light on his feet and remaining patient whilst controlling the contest. Welborn found success of his own, though, in the sixth and seventh round as he returned fire and began to give Metcalf something to think about. Think he did by producing the good in the eighth round with a sterling knockout, shortly after a low-blow forced Welborn and saw Metcalf have a point docked, a peach of a left hand caught Welborn flush at the liver and there was no coming back from that. A comfortable victory for Metcalf who showcased his knockout power to perfection – time to step it up and continue these sterner tests.

Lyon Woodstock and Zelfa Barrett both brushed aside their egos to get involved in an evenly matched domestic dust-up with the winner to be crowned super-featherweight Commonwealth champion. It was Barrett who did the better work throughout the 12 rounds to claim the title but the contest itself was an intriguing one. Before fight there had been speculation as to the quality of Barrett’s weight cut with him looking gaunt on the scales but his constant fainting drew the initial jabs from Woodstock.

Both men had suffered their first defeat in 2018 – Barrett against Ronnie Clark and Woodstock against Archie Sharp – but were eager to get involved in such a tantalising contest. Barrett, nephew of Pat, boxed from range – as he done to great effect in previous contests – and Woodstock was happy to mirror the style of his counterpart. Fighting from the outside suited Barrett, the English champion, and he was first to the punch on a number of occasions with a blindingly fast right hand.

WIth the contest ebbing towards Barrett it was surprising that Woodstock persevered in boxing at range and didn’t try his luck on the inside; the ease with which Barrett was able to control the contest was surprising but a testament to the talent he beholds. Woodstock kept on plodding forward and looking to exploit any weakness in his opponent and he didn’t do anything wrong, if we’re honest, he was just beaten a better fighter. Exchanges were plentiful and entertaining but the right hand of Barrett was the difference and his timing was exceptional to counter the work coming his way with a peerless overhand right. Superb from Zelfa Barrett and you wonder just what problems he might pose a certain Sam Bowen.

A trio of fights to tickle the taste buds but you come back to the main event and find yourself asking if either man did enough. It’s a conundrum and ultimately Galahad was the better man but didn’t do enough to win comfortably yet Warrington didn’t do enough to lose, either.

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Josh Warrington vs. Kid Galahad Fight Preview

Posted on 06/12/2019

By: Oliver McManus

Josh Warrington embarks on the second defense of his IBF featherweight title this Saturday when he faces Kid Galahad in a contest pitting Leeds’ home hero against the prickly-natured Sheffield-based mandatory challenger. Neither are shy of the spotlight and Warrington has been in full song surrounding his technical superiority whilst Galahad and, trainer, Dominic Ingle are sanguine that they have spotted weaknesses.

An aggressively ran marketing campaign from BT Sport is aimed at positioning Warrington as an eternal underdog; ‘written off 28 times’, when in reality questions have merely been raised as to the ceiling of Warrington’s ability, is the strapline spearheading BT’s adverts. A bloodied war with, kingpin at the time, Lee Selby saw Warrington wrestle the IBF belt away from Wales whilst he outgunned Carl Frampton in an assured display of aggression last December – ‘underdog’ is a severe injustice for the defending champion.

Kid Galahad, who was suspended between 2014 and 2016 after testing positive for stanozolol, remains unmoved by the ruthless performances of his adversary as he insists he’s “better than Frampton in every department”. The 29 year old will be looking for a far more composed gameplan that of Frampton, who was rocked in each of the first two rounds, as he gains a foothold in the contest from early doors. Three contests in 2018 showed a maturity from Galahad that has, arguably, been missing from previous performances with a measured tempo that allowed him to pick off rounds with relative ease.

Against Irving Berry (his first contest of 2018) he was able to strike up a fairly relaxed rhythm from the off and climbed through the gears in nonchalant fashion. An innocuous left hook caught Berry flush on the chin having narrowly missed moments earlier and the contest was over, just like that. In his other contests, against Toka Kahn Clary and Brayan Mairena, there was a tendency to favor a looping right hook to the body whilst remaining sharp with his upper body movement.

The defending champion, a 2/7 favorite in actuality, has cultivated a reputation as a puncher over recent fights: in thanks to his gritty, come-forward adventures against Selby and Warrington. Marginally younger, aged 28, energy has always been a huge plus for Warrington and he has frequently shown he’s the fresher fighter when championship rounds beckon; against Selby and Frampton he was effective in efficiently conserving energy by fighting in bursts of full-throttle commitment and stepping off the gas intuitively.

Such audaciously mature performances against two established featherweight figures, rightly, set the division on notice as to the little warrior from Leeds: a fighter whose ability was once questioned has rounded out his ability over the next couple years and now fights on resoundingly more than just “heart”. Make no mistake, however, that raw passion for fighting and success marks him out from Galahad – a fighter whose desire has been questioned in the build-up – and instantly gives Warrington the immediate ‘invincible’ mental edge.

Given the success he has found since inking a deal with Frank Warren, in 2017, you simply can find no logical ground for betting against the reigning IBF champion because, as we know, he always saves his best for when he’s written off.

The undercard sees a double scoop of domestic dust-ups as Zelfa Barrett and Lyon Woodstock clash for the vacant Commonwealth super featherweight title and JJ Metcalf and Jason Welborn compete for the vacant Commonwealth super welterweight belt. Both Barrett and Woodstock are no stranger to ‘getting involved’ with fellow rising prospects – both suffered their first loss last year: against Ronnie Clark and Archie Sharp, respectively- and display a refreshing eagerness to waste no time in getting back in at the deep end.

A rough and tumble contest against Clark, in which Barrett was dropped in the sixth, resulted in a marginal loss (via majority decision) for ‘Brown Flash’ with the fight proving a tough learning ground the nephew of Pat – himself a former European champion. An immediate rematch with Clark was touted but circumstance convened to frustrate the 25 year old and he has been limited to just two stay-busy bouts in the intervening sixteen months. Since turning professional in 2014 he has advanced to a record of 21-1 with notable victories over Chris Conwell (a fourth round knockout) and a one round destruction of Jordan Ellison. Certainly a power puncher with a penchant for ballistically hammering away with body shots, the only way Barrett really knows how to fight is with fire.

His counterpart for this contest is himself no stranger to a scrap with his contest against Sharp (in October) a contender for domestic fight of the year but, largely, is far more laid back when in the ring. Philosophically-oriented outside of the ring with a love for relaxing by watching documentaries, you can see this bleed into his fighting style with an almost spiritual aura encompassing him. The 25 year old has proven to be a strong counter puncher and that should serve as a bold contrast to the rugged aggression of Barrett but, he too, has the desire to go against the stereotypical grain of a professional boxer. The ‘0’ has never mattered for Woodstock and it’s always been about fighting the best to be the best.

Much like rollercoasters you probably shouldn’t watch this fight if you’re of a nervous disposition because this is going to loosen a bowel or two.

JJ Metcalf, the original opponent for Liam Williams on December 22nd, finds himself back in a big fight having brushed off the niggle with an eight round knockout over Santos Medrano back in April. The Merseyside fighter is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to momentum with just two fights in the last 20 months but when he has boxed he’s looked mighty impressive. Five knockouts on the trot against guys who rarely get stopped, a mixture of journeymen and continental contenders, are a testament to the sheer size of Metcalf: a relatively big super welterweight, in terms of physique, he is able to hold his punches superbly.
The same, however, can be said for Welborn who will likely come into the ring the bigger man having campaigned at middleweight for much of 2018 so you can almost guarantee this will be a case of ‘swinging and slugging’. The 33 year old’s last fight came on the undercard of Wilder-Fury with a world title challenge against Jarrett Hurd and Welborn was caught unawares by a huge body shots in the fourth round. Against Metcalf he’ll be facing an opponent of a far more level calibre and, indeed, Welborn will be confident that, having nullified Tommy Langford on two occasions, he’s a level above his unbeaten opponent.

A trio of fights that go without the hype and hyperbole of pay-per-view yet are bound to deliver far more bang for your buck than ‘main event’ from Las Vegas just hours afterwards. The perennial underdog for once finds himself a favourite but he can’t afford to slip up against an untested challenger and the undercard, well, that’s anyone’s guess.

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Josh Warrington-Kid Galahad Title Fight Heading To Jan. 24 Purse Bid

Posted on 01/14/2019

By Jake Donovan

Barely three business days after being ordered to negotiate, the ordered featherweight title fight between Josh Warrington and Kid Galahad is already heading to a purse bid.

The two sides were given thirty (30) days from January 7 to negotiate terms for the International Boxing Federation (IBF)-sanctioned featherweight title fight. However, Galahad—the mandatory challenger—and his team have already decided to cease talks and instead cut to the chase.

Photo Credit: Josh Warrington Twitter Account

“he IBF has ordered a purse bid for the mandatory defense of the Featherweight title between Champion Josh Warrington and #1 ranked contender Kid Galahad,” IBF spokesperson Jeanette Salazar informed in a release. “Warrington was ordered to negotiate with Galahad on January 7, 2019.

“On January 12, the IBF received a written certification from Eddie Hearn on behalf of Kid Galahad and Matchroom Boxing indicating that they were no longer willing to participate in negotiations and requested an immediate purse bid pursuant to IBF Rule 10A.”

The purse bid hearing is scheduled for January 24 at 12:00pm, to take place at the IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey.

Any hopes of civil negotiations seemed dead on arrival, given the contentious history between the two promoters involved.

Warrington is with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, while Galahad (birth name Abdul Barry Awad) fights under Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing banner. Warren and Hearn rarely do business together, but are willing to do so when the opportunity makes sense.

Warrington (28-0, 6KOs) signed with Warren in 2017, shortly after parting ways with Hearn with whom he worked with for the prior three years. Warren has network deals with BT Sport in the United Kingdom as well as ESPN’s streaming platform—ESPN+—in the United States, while Hearn has for years worked with Sky Sports and the primary content provider for sports streaming service DAZN.

Both boxers were last seen fighting on the desired platforms of their respective promoters.

Warrington made the first defense of his featherweight title with a rousing 12-round win over former two-division champ Carl Frampton last December in Manchester, England. The bout aired live on BT Sport Pay-Per-View in the UK and on ESPN+ in the U.S.

The victory capped a breakout year for Warrington. The unbeaten 28-year old claimed the title in a May ’18 points win over Lee Selby in his Leeds hometown. Following his thriller with Frampton, it was hoped that Warrington would be steered towards unification clashes with Oscar Valdez (who returns February 2 on ESPN) or Premier Boxing Champions’ pair of titlists Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell Jr.

Instead, he was ordered to next defend versus his mandatory challenger, given his bout was Frampton was deemed his lone-allowed voluntary defense.

Galahad (26-0, 15KOs) earned his way to a title shot following a 12-round win over Toka Khan-Clary in their title eliminator this past October. The bout took place in Boston, marking Galahad’s stateside debut along with his first appearance on DAZN.

While both sides come armed with lucrative network deals, there’s no guarantee that either lands the promotional rights to the fight. Because the mandatory title fight is now subject to a purse hearing, all IBF-registered promoters are free to bid on the contest. The winning bidder will also have to submit on the spot a 10% deposit of the total purse amount along with proposed dates and locations in order to be accepted.

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Josh Warrington vs. Kid Galahad Featherweight Title Fight Ordered By IBF

Posted on 01/07/2019

By: Jake Donovan

Any hopes for Josh Warrington to land in a featherweight title unification bout will have to wait at least one fight longer.

Barely two weeks removed from his thrilling points win over former two-division champ Carl Frampton, the unbeaten Brit has been issued his marching orders for his next title defense. It won’t be a unification bout with the likes of Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz or Gary Russell Jr., rather a clash with mandatory challenger Kid Galahad.

Word came down on Monday from the International Boxing Federation (IBF), whose featherweight title Warrington claimed in a 12-round win over Lee Selby last May.

“(Josh) Warrington has been ordered to next face (Kid) Galahad,” IBF spokesperson Jeanette Salazar confirmed to BoxingInsider.com.

The two sides will have 30 days to negotiate terms for such a bout, or else will be subjected to a February 6 purse bid hearing. At any time during such talks, either side can request an immediate purse bid in the event it’s clear that there isn’t any chance of reaching a deal.

There are several layers to peel back regarding such talks. Warrington is with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, while Galahad (birth name Abdul Barry Awad) fights under Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing banner.

Warrington (28-0, 6KOs) signed with Warren in 2017, shortly after parting ways with Hearn with whom he worked with for the prior three years. Warren has network deals with BT Sport in the United Kingdom as well as ESPN’s streaming platform—ESPN+—in the United States, while Hearn has for years worked with Sky Sports and the primary content provider for sports streaming service DAZN.

Both boxers were last seen fighting on the desired platforms of their respective promoters.

Warrington’s instant classic with Frampton topped a December 22 bill which streamed live on ESPN+ for stateside viewers, while playing to Pay-Per-View in the U.K. Warrington prevailed via unanimous decision in the first defense of the title he snatched from Selby, capping a breakout year for the Leeds boxer.

Galahad (26-0, 15KOs) earned his way to a title shot following a 12-round win over Toka Khan-Clary in their title eliminator this past October. The bout took place in Boston, marking Galahad’s stateside debut along with his first appearance on DAZN.

The unbeaten 28-year old has since resurfaced in a stay-busy bout, scoring an eight-round shutout of Brayan Malrena in his adopted hometown of Sheffield on December 8. The bout came in supporting capacity to Sheffield’s favorite son, former welterweight titlist Kell Brook whom outpointed Michael Zerefa atop the Sky Sports-aired/DAZN-streamed telecast.

While there have been past instances where a defending titlist can bypass a mandatory defense in favor of an approved unification bout, such a scenario will not apply to this contest. Warrington was already mandated to face Galahad by the time he stepped into the ring to face Frampton in a voluntary defense.

The aforementioned bout came with the blessing of the IBF on the condition that he would next defend versus Galahad. Neither boxer can take a fight in the interim.

Assuming neither party backs out, the contest will likely take place in early spring. Where it lands will, of course, depend entirely upon which side secures promotional rights.

As both sides come in armed with lucrative deals from platforms eager to secure as much content as possible, nothing short of a bidding war is expected.

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ESPN+ Boxing Results: Warrington Defeats Frampton in Thriller

Posted on 12/22/2018

By: Oliver McManus

A night of unprecedented drama, history and patriotism saw Carl Frampton challenge Josh Warrington for the IBF Featherweight Championship of the World. The Manchester Arena was the venue for this sumptuous all-British title fight but you’d be forgiven for thinking we were in Belfast, such was the atmosphere.

Warrington, confident as ever, entered the ring with a determination to forever erase the ‘underdog’ tag and, to be fair, bought a fair crowd from Leeds with him. Walking to the music of the Kaiser Chiefs, the passion from the Leeds man was clear to see. One of the most keenly anticipated fights of the year, of recent memory, this was not merely Warrington vs Frampton but a case of fighting cities going up against each other.

The first bell sounded at just after 10.30pm and Frampton immediately took to the centre of the ring. Rocking on the balls of his feet, the Northern Irishman kept his left hand out in trademark fashion. Warrington began with his hands high, head tucked behind, and landed some serious shots within the first round to send Frampton stumbling backwards.

Springing the surprise from behind his guard, Warrington pushed forward on his lead foot, forcing Frampton backwards as the champion sat down on his shots, targeting the body of his challenger. Frampton doubled up on the jab but, almost immediately, Warrington return with a flurry to the body. Every shot seemed to toll the body of Frampton who, let’s not disregard, landed some high quality shots of his own.

Round two began with Frampton returning to the ring, unperturbed by the ferocious start being made by his counterpart. Warrington, possessing the reach advantage, was beating The Jackal to the punch, out-jabbing throughout the early stages. Forcing Frampton to cover up, Warrington simply refused to stop swinging as he landed with alarming consistency, digging deep to the sides of Frampton. The pain on the face of the former unified champion was clear to see but the grit showed to hang in, despite constant pressure, was phenomenal.

Fighting like a man possessed is an accurate depiction but, let’s be clear, Warrington was not reckless. He was in control, biding his time before looking to push his case. The third round produced a similar story albeit with a slower rhythm. Frampton emerged unscathed but it was Warrington who sustained the pressure. An opportunity for Frampton to regroup and secure a foothold in the fight after a bumpy, bumpy opening two rounds.

Admirable consistency saw Frampton return to the centre of the ring in the fourth round and, after a hurricane-like start from Warrington, he began to relax into a rhythm of his own. Measuring the distance well with that lead left of his, he was able to find his range easier and land some noteworthy shots of his own. More measured, in terms of tempo, Frampton returned to the basics that had served him well throughout his career.

A tempting jab set up the hook to the body. Whilst Warrington still had pockets of success, funnily enough, in the pocket, Frampton seemed better-equipped to navigate through them than in rounds previous.

The fifth round saw Warrington looking to up the tempo, yet again, and bully Frampton into submission. Both men landed some superfluous left hands and whilst the weight of the punches came from the challenger, the Champion had more eye-catching aggression and damage infliction.

Back in the sixth and Warrington looked to engage in a firefight once more. With 40 seconds to go, Frampton was forced backwards onto the ropes as the Leeds warrior set off on another crazy flurry. The challenger jostled his way the correct side of the ropes and began to work the body, himself, but a round for the Champion, you’d imagine.

Just past the halfway stage and, already, this fight had it all. The makings of an all-time classic. Neither man gave quarter as they met at the centre of the ring, slinging shots towards the body of one another.

Frampton dug deep in the 8th, looking to enforce his own power onto the fight. A significant exertion of energy that had results, Warrington caught by heavy shots but not looking entirely troubled. Every time The Jackal landed strong shots, Warrington returned fire with a courageous salvo of his own. Toe-to-toe combat, a sensational fight.

Round nine lulled you into a false sense of security, starting off slower with both men visibly sore around the body. Despite the lessoned pace the quality of work was still there from each fighter. Frampton landed, arguably, the better punches but Warrington refused to yield ground. Frampton would have to TEAR this belt away from the Champion.

After such a gruelling encounter it would come as no surprise that fatigue looked like setting in during the championship rounds. But both these men are championship fighters and they continued to engage in an enthralling fight. Warrington, undoubtedly, the fresher fighter turned the screw and landed some flush shots that saw Frampton scamper towards the ropes.

At no point could you say Frampton boxed poorly, save for a shell shocked couple of rounds, but Warrington – as he did against Lee Selby – produced something on another level.

The final round began with a sterling display of respect. Both fighters, supremely talented, had produced a simply sensational fight. Warrington continued to look the fresher man but Frampton made no bones about the position he found himself in. The former champion looked to land quality shots of his own, as he always does, boxing for quality. Warrington, defending champion, bounced on his toes and landed the more youthful, sprightly combinations. Questions raised, before the fight, about whether this fight would live up to expectations were firmly put to bed.

What can possibly be said but, WHAT. A. FIGHT. Frampton produced high-quality punches but was beaten by a younger, hungrier fighter who just refused to give in. A man forever an underdog came out and shut the critics right up. If ever Josh Warrington is called an underdog again then something is seriously wrong with the sport.

After 12 epic rounds, the fight went to the scorecards 116-113, 116-112, 116-112 in favour of Josh Warrington who retains the IBF Featherweight Championship of the World. Josh Warrington, what more can you say? The perennial underdog turned British great.

In the co-main event, Mark Heffron and Liam Williams took to the ring for the vacant British middleweight title; Williams, moving up in weight, stood on the scales the heavier man, both of them looked in impressive physique.

Liam Williams, who partnered up with Dominic Ingle earlier this year, started off as the livelier boxer with a perpetual jab to showcase his technical abilities. Circumnavigating the ring constantly, Williams looked laser-focussed as Heffron found himself unable to get past the jab of his counterpart.

Heffron, himself, looked busy in the footwork but seemed to be finding difficulty in placing his shots. With intentions to load up on the left hand, he was frequently scuppered by the well timed jabs of WIlliams. A couple of head-clashes in the second round seemed to spark a bit of spite in Heffron – who’s right eye was nicked in the process – with the Oldham man still searching for his rhythm.

The third round brought more of the sound with Williams, whose two losses come at the hands of Liam Smith, looking to focus on out-boxing his man as opposed to brawling in the pocket. The pace of the fight was being dictated by the Welshman, not only in through shot-selection but in terms of movement as well.

Almost a forgotten man over the course of 2018, as harsh as it sounds, Williams was pecking away with his jab, a vintage performance began to unfurl from him. Stalking his man, often from the outside of the ring, it was the former British Super Welterweight champion that racked up the rounds with consummate ease. Heffron, meanwhile, seemed reluctant to force the tempo and experiment with punches.

It wasn’t purely a case of out-boxing Heffron, The Machine landed heavy right hands to keep Heffron in check with more shot variety coming from the Clydach Vale fighter. Heffron, who prepared for this fight with Liam Smith, appeared to be on the wrong side of a boxing lesson. Williams maintained at range to force Heffron to reach into his shots. Whilst a low-blow in the 8th prompted a telling off for the Welshman, he continued to land the superior punches.

The final third of the fight loomed with Heffron, seemingly, needing a knockout to prevail in his quest for the British belt. Williams continued to piece together lovely combinations but Heffron, to his credit, looked more willing to push the punches. Targeting the body, Heffron began to find WIlliams with a degree of regularity, working his way into the pocket.

A ferocious, lurching left hook clattered Heffron into the ropes with a standing eight count following. Williams sensed blood in the water and went for the kill, hitting Heffron at will with a series of punches landing square to the face. The head of Heffron began to bounce backwards with venom as the accurate punches of Williams failed to relent. Howard John Foster jumped in, understandably, at 1.55 of the 10th round. Liam Williams, the new British middleweight champion, thanks to the best performance of his career.

The extended undercard saw Martin Murray looking to force himself back into world title contention. A win over, former champion, Hassan N’Dam would do just that but the French-Cameroonian had ambitions of his own to return to title contention. The St Helens fighter, a pre-fight favourite, started off slower than expected but dropped N’Dam in the fourth. With that it looked as though Murray may, perhaps, ease into his rhythm but N’Dam persevered with the slicker work.

An underwhelming performance from Murray matched by an impressive one from N’Dam saw the decision go to the away corner, 117-112, 116-112 and 114-114. N’Dam moves back into the title mix, for Murray it’s a question of how much belief he still has. A glittering career, no doubt, but perhaps the final curtain?

Nathan Gorman started off fast in his first, scheduled, 12 rounder with Razvan Cojanu in the opposite corner. Scheduled to face Alex Leapai, Cojanu filled the spot when Daniel Dubois withdrew from their respective encounter and Leapai, also, pulled out. Gorman started off in keeping with his age, fast with the hands and landing significant shots. After round six, the 22 year old fought at a noticeably slower pace and began to box with repetition. Leading with the left hook as opposed to the jab, a tad more variety would have been nice but, regardless, Gorman looked mature beyond his years. Victory by scorelines of 119-109, 119-109 and 120-108.

Michael Conlan boxed for his first title, the WBO Inter-Continental Featherweight title, against Jason Cunningham. Cunningham, a former Commonwealth champion, came into the bout a live threat but was nullified by the counter-punching of Conlan. In only his second fight on British soil, Michael Conlan looked within himself throughout the contest and boxed really nicely. A point deducted in the sixth, for repeated low blows, the only blemish on an, otherwise, beautiful performance. Michael Conlan jumps into the world rankings via a win by 98-92, 97-92 and 97-92. Well deserved.

A fight for the ages, forget the hype surrounding a certain heavyweight match down at the O2, this was boxing as it should be. Pure, relentless passion. Carl Frampton, take a bow. Josh Warrington, take a bow. SImply sensational.

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BT Sport/ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Warrington vs. Frampton

Posted on 12/19/2018

By: Oliver McManus

An all-action, all-British grudge match to close the year out in style, listen not to the murmurings of a heavyweight event down South, Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton is the only fight you need this Saturday night.

Headlining a wonderful fight card at the Manchester Arena, Warrington-Frampton is the epitome of a 50-50 domestic clash. Neither fighter had to take this bout, there were options out there, but a desire to prove themselves as number one in 126lb division prevailed.

Warrington, the defending champion, has enjoyed a faultless career to date with an unblemished record after 27 bouts. Debuting in October 2009, Warrington made a name for himself on the small hall scene for the first four years in the paid ranks, gaining the experience at a young age.

Winning the English Featherweight belt over Chris Male in the back end of 2012, followed up by defences against Jamie Speight and Ian Bailey, elevated him to a position whereby Eddie Hearn came a-calling. The rest, as they say, is history. The perennial underdog, Warrington added the Commonwealth, British, European and WBC International straps to his name before he finally got a world title shot last year.

May 19th, a night that will go down in Leeds folklore, Warrington faced an embittered Lee Selby in front of a raucous home crowd. Few gave him the nod pre-fight but the underdog came out and fought masterfully on the front foot – a split decision win, one that few could argue with.

Against Carl Frampton, Josh Warrington retains that moniker of underdog, the asterisk against his name that has followed him his whole career. Warrington will go in as he always does, hungry. For many Carl Frampton has little left to prove, he’s had a dazzling career and is, arguably, Britain’s number one pound-for-pound but Josh Warrington is still that ‘lucky lad from Leeds’, isn’t he?

Far from it, the lucky lad is now a bona fide champion having done it the hard way. My expectation is that Warrington will approach this contest looking to take it to Frampton, try and force his opponent into faltering. Warrington will be in Frampton’s face from the off, there little chance of this being a highly-technical encounter. That’s not a slur on the ability of Warrington, by no stretch, but he performs better when setting a high-tempo, fighting hard and giving no quarter.

Carl Frampton, then. The challenger. And what a challenge it is as he faces the toughest domestic opponent possible, his toughest night since Leo Santa Cruz, but the route back to where he wants to be. Unification fights with Oscar Valdez, Santa Cruz and Gary Russel Jr will await the winner, Frampton is no stranger to that glory.

Four months on from a devastating beat-down of Luke Jackson – the Australian a hardy warrior – Frampton will enter the ring in Manchester looking to claim the fourth different world title to his name. The last two fights – Nonito Donaire and Luke Jackson – have seen Frampton return to form approaching his best and that consistency over the year, a fight every four months – will stand him in good stead.

The Jackal looks relaxed when he’s fighting, he looks content, and the style of Warrington has potential to play into his hands. Demonstrating a wonderful ability to box on the back foot, Frampton has landed some beautiful counter-right hooks in his last couple of fights. Oftentimes an opponent has looked to be in the clear, with Frampton at range, but before you know it he’s in your face.

Styles produce great fights and Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton have the perfect styles to produce a genuine Fight of the Year – what more could you ask for?

How about a sensational dust-up between Mark Heffron and Liam Williams for the British middleweight title? A long time mandatory, Heffron was granted a “free shot” at the title after Jason Welborn relinquished the crown in order to fight Jarrett Hurd.

Make no mistake, though, Williams will be as strong a challenger as they come and the Welsh boxer will enter the ring on the back of two thunderous knockout victories this year. The rebuild from back-to-back losses against Liam Smith saw Williams join Dominic Ingle and the boxer has looked crisp and rejuvenated in the ring.

Having been in camp preparing for a 50-50 clash with JJ Metcalf, Williams steps up in weight to challenge for the British title and will carry his power into the new division with relative ease. With Williams looking to pursue higher honours, the change in weight seems a sensible move and the former British & Commonwealth super-welterweight champion is jumping straight into the deep end.

Heffron, himself, has been preparing for a British title for the best part of four months and produced a super performance back in June when he stopped Andrew Robinson in the 6th. That fight saw Heffron claim the WBC International strap and Kid Dynamite looked classy in the ring with a strong control of the tempo, working the angles and remaining patient before seizing his opportunity.

Martin Murray, WBC Silver middleweight champion, takes on Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in a fight that packs fireworks. Murray, scheduled to face Billy Joe Saunders on two occasions this year, has not hidden the fact that this is his last crack at the route to a world title. N’Dam, WBA Regular champion last year, lost the title in a rematch with Ryota Murata last October but is a fighter who knows nothing but aggression. The French-Cameroonian offers Murray the opportunity to enhance his spot in the rankings ahead of a 2019 world title tilt but, make no mistake, this isn’t going to be one-way traffic.

Nathan Gorman was scheduled to take on Alex Leapai until the Australian withdrew last week. The challenge in front of Gorman, now, is Razvan Cojanu who faced Joseph Parker for the WBO title last year. Scheduled for 10 rounds and in defense of his WBC International Silver title, Nathan Gorman has a real opportunity to add a scalp to his record – by no means someone to be sniffed at – and move one step ahead of Daniel Dubois on the heavyweight ladder.

Michael Conlan will look to go 10 and 0 in only his second professional fight in the United Kingdom as he takes on, former Commonwealth champion, Jason Cunningham whilst the stacked undercard is completed by the additions of Billy Joe Saunders, Lyndon Arthurt, Jack Massey, Paddy Barnes, Tommy Fury, Sam Maxwell, Troy Williamson and Danny Wright.

Box Office entertainment at its finest… I hope you’ve got your purple card ready because it’s going to be a blockbuster!

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Warrington Wins Close Decisions Against Selby

Posted on 05/19/2018

By: Sean Crose

In the raucous cauldron of Elland Road, hometown favourite, Josh Warrington became the new IBF featherweight champion, and Leeds’ first boxing world champion after earning a split decision over ‘Lighting’ Lee Selby.

From the first bell the crowd bayed for blood, and that’s exactly what they got as, within the first two rounds Lee Selby sustained a cut to his left eye, from what the crowd presumed to be a head clash, though it didn’t seem to deter the Welsh champion from taking the centre of the ring.

Photo Credit: BoxNation Twitter Account

Selby was fighting well from distance through 4 but seemed unable to react when Warrington rushed in and fired off combinations that threw the Welshman off his stride. By the 5th round, Selby’s face was streaming with blood, but the heavily favoured Warrington crowd were loving it, as Josh landed the crowd-pleasing punches, and began to gather momentum both psychologically and physically.

Into the middle rounds, and Warrington began to dominate, but the question remained over whether the Leeds native had the power to take Selby out. The IBF champion seemed so unable to avoid Warrington’s hooks. Time and time again ‘Lighting’ Lee looked dominant from a distance but as soon as Josh piled on the pressure, there was nowhere to hide for the Welshman as he struggled to dodge the attack coming his way.

The championship rounds were upon us in what seemed like fleeting moments, this was a featherweight classic, as both fighters seemed to be going hell for leather through rounds 9 & 10. By now, Selby’s right eye was cut along with his left.

In some cases, a boxer’s face post-fight doesn’t adequately tell the story, in this case however, it probably did. Warrington began to take control over ‘Lightening’ Lee through 10, 11 & 12, though not without a fight from Selby, but it proved not enough.

The scorecards came back as, 113-115 Selby, 116-112, 115-113 Warrington, and a new featherweight champion was crowned.

Selby understandably made a quick exit from the stadium post-fight, but Warrington was more than happy to talk about tonight’s bout, and the battles to come,
‘I’ve been doubted for a very long time…I’ve always been confident throughout the build-up of this fight. Press conferences, open workouts, I’ve always massively believed I’ve had this fight won…As soon as I got into the venue tonight, it all lifted.’

‘I was doubted at English level, I was doubted at British level…I haven’t got punching power, I haven’t got the speed, I haven’t got the boxing intelligence, but I’ve just out boxed and outfought and outsmarted a brilliant champion in Lee Selby.’

When asked about future fights, the new IBF champion wasn’t shy in mentioning Frampton in his plans,

‘Carl Frampton keeps on getting mentioned but Windsor Park might be a little bit too soon. I wouldn’t mind going back to the (First Direct) Arena and defend this baby, and then possibly see about fighting Carl after that.’

Jack Catterall vs Christopher Sebire

In what would’ve been the headline act of the undercard, if it hadn’t of ended so early, Jack Catterall continued his momentum by earning a technical knockout over Christopher Sebire.

Sebire weighed 2lbs over the limit going into the bout, but it made no difference to ‘El Gato’ as he went in for the kill as the first bell tolled. The Frenchman was knocked down by a precise left-hand straight from Catterall, and he stayed down from then on. Sebire complained of an injured shoulder, but even if true, he wanted nothing to do with the British super lightweight.

Catterall now moves on to bigger and better fights. Domestically, many fans are calling for an Ohara Davies vs ‘El Gato’ matchup, which would see how far Catterall is from the best of the British super lightweights, Josh Taylor.

Nicola Adams vs Soledad del Valle Frias

In her first scheduled 10-rounder, Nicola Adams made lightwork of three-time world title challenger, and now, 13-12-4, Soledad del Valle Frias.

As expected, Nicola dominated from the first bell and looked to impress her home crowd of Leeds fans immediately, though her body shot KO came just before the end of the 1st round and left a number of the crowd confused as to whether the fight had ended or not.

It turned out it had, as the referee waved away Valle Frias, and opened the door for Adams to challenge the likes of current super flyweight champions, Linda Luca, Guadalupe Guzman, Debora Dionicius, or the German based, Raja Amasheh.

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Lee Selby vs. Josh Warrington Preview

Posted on 05/17/2018

By: Ste Rowen

Over the next three weeks, 3 of the 4 featherweight champions of the world defend their IBF, WBC and WBA belts. First to take to the ring will be IBF champion, Lee Selby, who stakes his IBF strap against Josh Warrington in a long awaited domestic clash.

The two will meet on Warrington’s home turf, and dream venue in Leeds’ Elland Road stadium. It’s a matchup that’s been long in the making, even before the two boxers moved over to Frank Warren’s, Queensberry Promotions from Matchroom, and in the ‘Face to Face’ programme which brought the two together to discuss prefight, Warrington said the rivalry stemmed from Selby’s disrespect towards the Leeds native,

Photo Credit: Frank Warren Twitter Account

‘In the early days, when the rivalry was building we shook hands and you seemed a bit timid about wanting to shake hands. I respected you from that day because you’d achieved everything. You did nothing from then on but downplayed my achievements…There’s been times when you’ve said, ‘Easy work. I’ll knock him out. Not on my level’ You’ve changed your opinion many times.’

Selby, 26-1 (9KOs) drew on his time when the two fighters were under the same promotional banner,

‘Your promoter at the time bought the titles off me in order to build you up in front of your crowd, otherwise you wouldn’t have had the Commonwealth title…Built you up ready for me to knock you out.’

The Welshman was last out in December on the James Degale vs Caleb Truax undercard when he dominated the previously unbeaten Eduardo Ramirez to a clear unanimous decision. That was Lee’s 4th defence of the world title he won back in 2015 after scoring an 8th round technical decision win over Evgeny Gradovich, a bout he was clearly ahead in before the head clash which ended the fight.

Since then, Selby’s fought away from home, and at Wembley stadium, so he’s not afraid of the hostile environment he’s expected to walk into on the night,

At the press conference earlier this week he said,

‘I should be ready to defend my world title anywhere in the world so it’s only 5 hours up the road from where I live. It’s not so much of a lion’s den…It’s just another defence.’

‘I treat every opponent the same. I don’t train for a certain style or opponent… The guys in Leeds want you to win, but the whole country is backing me.’

Warrington, 26-0 (6KOs) hasn’t fought since October, when he stopped 18-0-2, Dennis Ceylan in the 10th round and the man from Leeds has built a strong record, collecting some solid names, including victories over Rendall Munroe, Patrick Hyland and everyone’s favourite Spanish boxer, Kiko Martinez. Warrington, like at most events in the build for this featherweight world title clash, was once again in buoyant mood,

‘Last few months I’ve really put my body through hell…After all the talk of me and Lee fighting it’s come down to this camp and I’m gonna give it everything…I feel like this is meant to be…It’s come around how I always planned it.
‘There’s no need for anymore talking. On Saturday I get to punch you in the face… There’s no way you can or will be able to prepare for what you’re gonna expect on Saturday night.

Both fighters know that it’s not just a world title on the line on Saturday. Carl Frampton is still looking for someone to fight at Windsor Park in August, and this weekend’s winner is expected to be the opponent. But, with WBC champ, Gary Russell Jr facing off against the unbeaten Golden Boy prospect, Joel Diaz also on Saturday; the rematch of Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares in three weeks’ time, and Oscar Valdez making a steady return from injury since his defence against Scott Quigg two months ago, there’s plenty of options for the man who has his hand raised on the 19th in Leeds.

On the undercard…

Jack Catterall vs Mohammed Kani

The top of Saturday night’s undercard sees Jack Catterall 20-0 (11KOs) come up against 14-1 (0KOs) Mohammed Kani, to defend his WBO Inter-Continental super lightweight belt. Catterall had an impressive 2017 which included a 12-round decision victory over Tyrone Nurse to earn the British title, and he has already fought once this year, knocking out the journeyman’s journeyman, Kevin Macauley 15-163-12, with a body 1st round body shot.

His opponent, Mohammed Kani, also a southpaw, will be fighting outside of France or Monaco, for the first time in his pro career, a career that faltered slightly when he dropped an 8-round decision to fellow Frenchman Laid Douadi 14-0-1.

Speaking to ‘British Boxers’, Warrington didn’t seem to concerned with his opponent,

‘I’ve had a lot of southpaw sparring and orthodox so it’s not an issue. I know I’ve prepared for this fight no matter who they put in front of us so, I’m confident of putting another loss on his record on Saturday.’

Nicola Adams vs Soledad del Valle Frias

Two-time Olympic gold medallist, Nicola Adams will fight in her first schedule 10-round bout, in just her 4th fight when she takes on 13-11-4, Soledad del Valle Frias a former three-time world title challenger.

Adams, so far has only gone as far as 4 rounds and although she’s taken on a relative veteran of the female boxing scene, Nicola is just taking it as any other fight. Speaking to BBC she said,

‘This is another step up for me on my professional journey to a professional world title…My camp has gone perfectly and I can’t wait to fight in a football stadium for the first time.

Ohara Davies vs Christopher Sebire

Ohara Davies makes his first return to the ring since linking up with Frank Warren, after cutting ties with Matchroom at the end of last year.

Davies, 16-1 (13KOs) is schedule to fight the unbeaten, Josh Leather, 13-0 next month, so Saturday’s bout is expected to be a keep busy exhibition for ‘Two Tanks’. His opponent Frenchman, Christopher Sebire 26-10-1 (9KOs) is fighting in Britain for the second consecutive time, losing a 10-round decision to 20-1, Paul Kamanga back in November.

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