Josh Warrington turned down voluntary defence before facing Carl Frampton


Josh Warrington has revealed that he turned down the option of squeezing in another voluntary defence before facing Ireland’s Carl Frampton.

Many suggested that the Leeds man to make the first defence of his IBF featherweight title in August or September before facing Belfast’s Frampton in December.

A December date at the Manchester Arena was always the plan for common promoter Frank Warren but, having won the belt in a gruelling fight versus Lee Selby in May, Warrington has elected to go straight into a fight with ‘The Jackal’ seven years later.

The fan-favourite felt that adding in another tortuous camp in 2018 would not be beneficial for himself or for his performance on December 22nd.

In his first fighter diary, Warrington dscribed how “when people talked about me having a steady voluntary after such a big night and tough fight against Lee Selby last time out, the thing is there are no really easy fights at world level because everybody wants to be in your position, even if you are fighting the 15 in the IBF rankings or whatever.”

“There isn’t going to be easy fights because everybody wants what you’ve got.”

“Frank was pretty persistent when it came to getting the Frampton fight on this year and squeezing a fight in inbetween would have meant we would have fought in late August or maybe September.”

It should be noted that Frampton himself is a voluntary defence for Warrington and, had he taken a prior voluntary in August or September he may have been ordered to face his mandatory challenger – Qatari Kid Galahad.

That said, there could hypothetically have been arrangements made to facilitate two consecutive voluntary defences before going into his next mandatory.

Regardless, the fan-favourite felt that adding in another tortuous camp in 2018 would not be beneficial for himself or for his performance on December 22nd.

Warrington noted how “It is not the fights that take so much out of you though, it is the camps and I would have only had a week or so off after the Selby fight, which was a five month build up because, don’t forget, I had to stop camp half way through when my kids were born.”

“Camps are not just about fitness, it is about preparing for gameplans and certain styles and that is without the knocks, bumps, bruises and strains you would carry from having an interim fight.”

“You’ve got to go into these fights at 100 per cent, not having burned yourself out. That is something I didn’t want to do. I thought we had worked hard to be in the position we are now and, with the little bit of leeway I had, with a pick out of the two, I would rather have the Carl fight.”

The Englishman was wary of letting the fight ‘marinate’, pointing out that sometimes things do not work out.

Warrington argued that “Carl would also want to keep himself busy and there is always the risk that if one of us was to lose then the fight falls through.”

“Sometimes these things can string themselves out too long and fights don’t happen when they should do. We’ve seen it many a time and we are still seeing it now with people like Kell Brook and Amir Khan, where a fight should’ve happened by now and maybe it has lost a bit of gloss.”

“People want to see the big fights and, as boxers, you want to defend against the best. If you consider yourself a real champion then you fight the best names.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie