Josh Warrington says that he will soon be known as one of the world’s best featherweight boxers. Once he beats Carl Frampton, that is.
Warrington and Frampton are all set to go toe-to-toe at Manchester Arena on Saturday night with the IBF world featherweight title on the line. Warrington, who boasts a perfect 27-0 record with 6 knockouts, is actually listed as the betting underdog against Frampton, who has a record of 26-1 with 15 knockouts. Most Frampton vs. Warrington match previews will note that Frampton is a fairly heavy -200 betting favorite, while Warrington is listed at +160 to win.
Warrington has no shortage of supporters in his hometown of Leeds, but he is out to convince the rest of the world that he should be taken seriously. Beating Frampton would go a long way toward accomplishing said goal. The 31-year-old Frampton lost his top-ranked status in the featherweight division when he was beaten by Leo Santa Cruz a couple of years ago.
Warrington said in an interview, “When I win this fight it will put me up with the best in the division. He’s ranked No. 1 in the rankings above me in Britain. There was a doubt when I fought Lee Selby about who would be No. 1, but there won’t be any doubt after this. I’m going to announce myself on the world level with this fight by beating Carl and I want to then unify the titles. I would love the fight against Oscar Valdez and I will show in this fight I belong in the Champions League, not just the Premier League.”
Warrington is no stranger to his underdog status. He was also a +300 underdog for his aforementioned fight against Lee Selby a few months ago. This will be Frampton’s fifth straight fight as a betting favorite. He won 3 of those fights in addition to the decision loss to Santa Cruz that stripped him of his No. 1 status. Frampton has since beaten Nonito Donaire and Luke Jackson since dropping from super featherweight to featherweight.
Warrington, who earned the nickname “tooth fairy” because he had a side job making dentures earlier in his career, feels that he owes it to his local community to go out and win. He added, “There’s a massive sense of responsibility and you have to keep on winning. There’s a pressure that they expect you to win and sometimes they forget there’s someone sitting in the opposite corner who wants to beat you. I use it as a motivation to keep on winning for the people and keep the journey going for everyone.”
It won’t be easy for Warrington. Frampton rarely loses his composure in the ring and he has a way of forcing his opponent into a corner. He will effectively pin his opponent in the corner while he remains planted just out of striking range. Frampton will increase his activity level as the fight wears on with the hope that his opponent has tired himself out earlier in the match.
Frampton’s strategy worked perfectly against Luke Jackson, who conceded after the ninth round. This will be Warrington’s first IBF featherweight title defense bout. Warrington is excellent at dodging his opponent’s attempts and countering with quick jabs of his own. It will be an interesting clash of styles. Frampton likes to take the offensive approach, while Warrington likes to lay back and counter-punch.
Frampton has a clear power advantage, as evidenced by his 15 knockouts to just 6 for Warrington. Warrington’s agility should benefit him here, especially if Frampton manages to successfully back him into the corner. Dodging Frampton’s attacks and landing effective counters will ultimately be what decides the match for Warrington. If he can stay relatively clean while continuously chipping away at Frampton’s body, Warrington has a real chance at pulling off the upset and defending his belt.