Promoter Frank Warren said an All-British showdown between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton was likely to wait until next year after Warrington positioned himself amongst boxing’s elite featherweights with a brilliant win over Lee Selby.
Frampton looked on from ringside, working as a commentator for BBC Five Live, as Warrington became Leeds’ first world champion by outpointing Selby during 12 bloody and brutal rounds at Elland Road on Saturday night.
Warrington took a split decision to claim Selby’s IBF title and talk turned quickly to a lucrative clash with Frampton, Belfast’s former two-weight champion and another fighter in Warren’s promotional stable.
Warren described a meeting between them as a “natural fight” but said the desire to use a stadium to stage it after a raucous night at Elland Road could delay a bout until the end of the next football season.
Some 20,000 spectators watched Warrington dismantle Selby, inflicting only the second fight of the Welshman’s career, and both Elland Road and Windsor Park in Belfast have been touted as possible venues if Warrington and Frampton agree to fight.
Frampton is currently without a world title having lost to WBA holder Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas last year but he won the interim WBO belt last month and is expected to fight again in August.
A bout against Warrington would be a huge domestic contest but both Warrington and Warren hinted that he would make a less high-profile defence of his IBF belt first, potentially at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
“I don’t think we’ll be going anywhere soon,” Warren said. “The Carl Frampton fight’s there to be done. Carl’s a great guy the same as Josh, two really superb boxers, and both have got tremendous fanbases. You can imagine what the atmosphere will be like when they get it on. We’ve got to think about how we do that.
“The only problem is that for here and any other football ground, the football season starts. It’s just not going to happen. It’s a natural fight but in the meantime it’s time to rest. We’ve got plenty of time to talk business.”
Warrington agreed that an immediate battle at Windsor Park “might be too soon” but insisted he was ready to travel to Belfast to take Frampton on in his home city.
Warrington’s last seven bouts have taken place in Leeds and he harnessed the energy of a ferocious crowd at Elland Road to overpower Selby in ruthless style.
“We’ll sit down in the next week,” Warrington said. “Carl Frampton keeps on getting mentioned but Windsor Park might be a little bit too soon. I wouldn’t mind going back to the Arena, defending this and then see about fighting Carl after that.
“I was down in the BT studios two weeks ago and I passed Carl. I saw that he was picking Selby to win and I said ‘here Carl, I know you’ve picked Selby but he’s having it and after that I wouldn’t mind coming to Windsor Park and fighting you.’ Leeds fans love an away day.
“My heart says let's get it on. I’m a big fan of Carl Frampton and it would be a big payday but I prefer the end of the year. I need some time to let this sink in. We’ll weigh up our options. The world's my oyster now, isn’t it?”