Josh Warrington determined to take tough route to featherweight unification with Carl Frampton clash

JOSH WARRINGTON is relishing the prospect of making the first defence of his world title against Carl Frampton '“ insisting the calibre of his opponent speaks volumes about his desire to unify the featherweight division.

Josh Warrington salutes his fans during Wednesday's press conference for his world title fight against Carl Frampton. Picture: Simon Hulme

Warrington will defend his IBF title in December against Frampton, ranked the world’s No 1 boxer at the weight.

WBO interim featherweight champion Frampton has been world champion at two different weights. Unbeaten Warrington readily admits that he could have sourced an “easier” opponent for the fight, which will be staged at Manchester Arena on Saturday, December 22.

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But the Leeds boxer said he had designs on adding even more belts after taking on Frampton with the 27-year-old aiming to dominate the division by targeting the WBO belt held by Oscar Valdez, the WBA title of Leo Santa Cruz and the WBC crown of Gary Russell Jr.

“I am very excited to be coming up against Carl,” said Warrington at a press conference at the Carriageworks in Leeds yesterday. “There were possibilities that there could have been easier fights out there for me but I want to prove that I am the very best in the division.

“I have got dreams and aspirations of going on and unifying the division. Carl is a great fighter and I believe there is a lot of mutual respect.

“One thing I will say about Leeds folk is that they get behind their own – but they also respect quality fighters. December 22 is going to be a hell of a night and you have got two of the best sets of fans not just in British boxing but in the world.

“When I have been over to Belfast they have always been noisy and I am a Leeds lad and I know what Leeds fans are like, we are passionate and we don’t stop making noise.”

Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton square up at their press conference at the Carriageworks in Leeds. Picture: Simon Hulme

Warrington is confident he has what it takes to get the better of Frampton in what he believes will be a memorable atmosphere.

“It’s going to be deafening in there and not only that but in the ring you are going to have in my opinion the fight of the year,” he added. “I am going to give absolutely everything and I believe that the title is going nowhere and that I will end 2018 as world champion.

“You have got two fighters here just having it out to see who is the best and I am buzzing for it. I can’t wait for it, I am very confident.”

Josh Warrington shares a joke with John Rawlings. Picture: Simon Hulme