Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton look set for a December showdown after promoter Frank Warren confirmed that the pair would meet in an IBF featherweight clash before the end of 2018.
Warren said a fight between Leeds’s Warrington and Frampton would take place “definitely this year” after Frampton retained his WBO interim title with a stoppage of Australian Luke Jackson on Saturday night.
Jackson was stopped in the ninth round of a one-sided bout as Warrington looked on from ringside at Belfast’s Windsor Park.
A December meeting between Warrington and Frampton has been spoken about ever since the West Yorkshireman claimed the IBF belt by dethroning Lee Selby with a dramatic points win at Elland Road in May.
Frampton is without a world belt having lost the WBA version to Leo Santa Cruz last year but the Northern Irishman is widely regarded as Britain’s No 1 boxer at nine stone, despite Warrington’s impressive defeat of Selby.
Speaking after Frampton’s victory over Jackson, Warren – who promotes both Frampton and Warrington – said: “We delivered Carl’s dream. He came to Belfast, Windsor Park. That was his dream.
For me, I beat Selby and I’m still ranked behind Carl. I’d like to be number one for Christmas.Josh Warrington
“We delivered, he delivered, Josh delivered a few months ago. We’re now going to make the dream fight. These two guys in the ring together is a dream fight for the fans.
“We’re going to make it happen. They want it and it will happen. Definitely this year. It’s on.”
Warrington pulled a crowd of almost 20,000 into Elland Road for his bout with Selby but a meeting with Frampton at the end of the year, falling in the middle of the Championship season, is unlikely to be staged at Leeds United’s ground.
Frampton has a large following of his own and the 31-year-old packed out Windsor Park on his first appearance at the arena.
Following his defeat of Selby, Warrington initially indicated that he would look to make a lower-key voluntary defence before turning his attention to Frampton.
But the Leeds fighter said: “I’m looking to get the fight. For me, I beat Selby and I’m still ranked behind Carl. I’d like to be number one for Christmas.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for this man but you want to fight the best.”
Frampton also called for the bout to be finalised, saying: “We’re both with Frank Warren and hopefully he can make a fight.
“I’m not a world champion, I’m not for a second saying I’m a world champion because I’ve got this interim title. Josh is a world champion.
“I would love to be a world champion again.”
Manchester Arena is the favoured venue for what would represent both men’s next step.
“Josh Warrington’s a different task altogether,” said Frampton after Jackson’s corner threw in the towel at the end of the ninth round.
“He had the biggest win of his career against (Lee) Selby. It’s not an easy fight, and it’s a big fight, especially in the UK and Ireland.
“It’s very, very exciting. My fans will be excited by it, Warrington’s fans will be excited by it. The atmosphere’s going to be electric, it’s going to be one of the best atmospheres ever.
“I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, or Warrington’s trumpet – it’ll be the best atmosphere in boxing. Look at his fans, look at my fans.
“It probably has the ingredients (to be an exciting fight). Scott Quigg’s tactics when he fought me (at the Manchester Arena) were strange, to say the least, and I won not having to do a lot at all. I don’t think Josh Warrington is going to give me six rounds by not doing anything, so it would be a completely different fight, and a better fight.
“It’d have to be – it couldn’t get any worse.”
The normally remarkably-composed Frampton revealed that the occasion on Saturday night had led to him battling against uncharacteristic pre-fight nerves, but amid suggestions he had fought for the final time in his home town of Belfast he insisted he could yet return. He will be the favourite against Warrington and, should he succeed, it is little secret he plans to fight WBO champion Oscar Valdez and secure a third fight with Leo Santa Cruz, both of which would likely take place in the US, but he said: “This is the most active I’ve ever been in my career. This is where I want to be.
“It was unbelievable. I don’t know if this is a bit vain, but I was watching myself on the big screen, walking (to the ring), and I was smiling to myself.”