By Bill Tibbs
On December 22nd, undefeated Josh Warrington (27-0, 6 KO’s) will make the 1st defence of his IBF world featherweight title against former champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (26-1, 15 KO’s).
Warrington won the title back in May when he won a spit decision over long-reigning champion Lee Selby to become Leeds, England’s first ever world champion.
If Warrington can defeat Belfast, Ireland’s hugely popular Frampton, it would indeed be quite a year for the English fighter. However, he will have his hands full against Frampton who has previously held the IBF and WBA super bantamweight titles along with the WBA and IBF world featherweight titles. He also sports a resume that includes victories over Luke Jackson, Nonito Donaire, Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz.
In recent interviews, both fighters seemed confident that they would be closing out the year with a victory. Frampton was looking to add the IBF belt to his collection while Warrington was looking to add a very big name to his resume.
“The Frampton fight really appeals to me and it will be another big scalp for me,” said the unbeaten 27-year-old Warrington. “There were easier routes I could have taken, like having a voluntary. Frampton and Selby in the same year would be a massive achievement”, he said.
And, while Warrington knows that many will favour the more experienced Frampton, he knows what it is like to be the underdog as he was when he was facing Selby who was making the 5th defence of his title when Warrington beat him.
“It’s about keeping the momentum going and I just believe I can beat Carl. I am just as confident in beating Carl as I was beating Lee Selby. These are fights that the British public want to see, I’m a world champion and when you are world champion you want to fight the best and Carl is a name who is up there,” said Warrington.
While Frampton knows he is for a tough fight, he is also sure that the fans are going to be in for a great night in what should be an electric atmosphere.
“Me and Warrington have big fan bases that make a lot of noise, so I think first and foremost the atmosphere is going to be fantastic and possibly a bit hostile as well”, said Frampton. “I’m very proud of my career but I believe I still have more to give and want to keep going as long as I can. I will add my fourth world title and go on and unify again”, he continued. “You’re going to see two hungry guys in their prime, Warrington has just won this world title and isn’t going to give it up easily. I know what it’s like to be a world champion and I want that feeling back again, I think there is going to be fireworks in this fight”, he said.”
On the undercard
Tommy Fury - Yes, from that fighting Fury family. Tommy, Tyson’s youngest brother, makes his pro debut.
Billy Joe Saunders - Former WBO middleweight champion returns to the ring for his first bout in a year looking to move his recored to a prefect 27-0.
Martin Murray - former world middleweight champion is looking to make it 5 straight wins (since his loss to former world champion George Groves in 2016) and maybe position himself for a title shot in 2019.
Michael “Mick” Conlon - Undefeated former Olympian, and featherweight contender, looks to move to a perfect 10-0 to close out his 2nd year as a pro.