Though it would be at least four months until such a climactic bout could unfold, the possibility of Carl Frampton v Josh Warrington as an IBF featherweight title showdown has whet the appetite of Frampton’s acolytes. WBO featherweight title holder Oscar Valdez was seen as the most likely candidate to taste Frampton’s gloves in the latter part of 2018, but a broken jaw put paid to Valdez’ chances. With the plans of Frampton’s camp torn asunder by that development, Josh Warrington is at a potential advantage, even if Frampton does approach any future title bout with him as a favourite. Should it happen, how would they fare?
A 1/100 favourite before his bout with Jackson, Frampton describes himself as “world class”.
Frampton’s last two fights have been victorious ones, coming by unanimous decision, after suffering the first defeat (and title loss) of his career in January 2017 – just six months after beating the same man. With the seasoned Nonito Donaire being his last opponent before his fight with Luke Jackson in Belfast, there is nothing cheap about Frampton’s WBO interim featherweight title. Before his August bout with Jackson was a staggering 1/100 favourite on Betway to dispose of Jackson. Having never lost on British territory, with consistent wins via unanimous decision, knockout or stoppage in his hometown of Belfast, such long odds-on appear justified. Some sceptics believe that fighting Luke Jackson will leave Frampton undercooked ahead of more important bouts, but the Irishman can only what is in front of him. Though he stood unbeaten as a professional (16-0, according to BoxRec) before facing Frampton, Luke Jackson’s long odds of 16/1 against were justified by the fact that he is a fighter untried away from the Oceanic continent.
A tale of the tape in the making? Correct as of 9 August 2018.
Ready for War-rington
The feeling is clearly mutual for those connected to would-be opponent Josh Warrington. If his last fight is anything to go by, his main asset is clearly stamina, with the Yorkshireman having taken Lee Selby all the way to an IBF featherweight title win (via split decision) at Elland Road. Cunning and patience are also huge assets to Warrington, with the new champion ensuring that Selby was not able to utilise his desire to land some early blows and set what many expected to be the tone. Beating Selby was a huge achievement in itself, but the fact that it came via split decision will rankle somewhat. Though Frampton would be a marginal odds-on favourite if he fought Warrington, the latter would be eager to prove himself as something other than the ‘paper champion’ some may assert he is. There would be no tactical conservatism against Frampton, and Warrington would be playing for the knockout in the final quarter of the fight.
Opponent watch: Warrington’s recent fights
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Head to head
Reach is one of the first statistics that experts look at, and with Warrington having a five-inch advantage in that department, he must prevent Frampton from working his way inside. Frampton is not so easily cornered against an opponent with a superior reach, and it is ultimately Warrington who has the greater tactical dilemma. Warrington himself has already proved he can ride some dangerous blows, doing so multiple times against Selby, whose blows could easily have reversed the split decision had they connected. Warrington is also too smart to be forced into a corner, though he could be if Frampton can utilise his lower centre of gravity. Though he will want to erase all doubts surrounding him, Warrington may yet swallow his pride and beat Carl Frampton at his own ‘long game’. Of the last six fights in Warrington’s outstanding 27-0 record, two have gone to the final quarter, with the other four going the distance. He can clearly mix caution with aggression too, with a stoppage of Danish fighter Dennis Ceylan in Leeds as reported on BBC Sport.
Bias is the enemy of the expert’s mind, but Frampton should be suitably conditioned after his win over Luke Jackson. There is also a prime opportunity for the Belfast-born battler to rile Warrington into making unnecessary mistakes, giving him the chance to open up what should be a resolute guard. He will unlikely do so to the effect of knocking out Warrington, but it may swing several rounds, and we predict a majority decision win for Frampton over Warrington, should this fight ever happen.