IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby has vowed to never fight Josh Warrington.
The Welshman had hoped to defend his title against his domestic rival before the end of July, but remains frustrated at Warrington’s unwillingness to do so so close to his August wedding. A fight between the two had been building as former European champion Warrington’s career progressed and would be among the most popular domestic match-ups that could be made.
Selby, however, is convinced Warrington is using his wedding as an excuse to avoid the more proven fighter, and insists that for all of his rival’s previous talk of wanting to face him, unless he becomes his mandatory challenger he has missed his last chance.
“I think he’s just bottled it,” said the Welshman, 29. “I said if I was offered a title fight when I wasn’t a champion, I’d have divorced my wife to box for it. And that’s the truth. I’d have put it on hold, definitely
“(The line is) drawn, he’s missed his chance. The only chance he’s got now is becoming the mandatory. I’ve seen reports their plan now is to become mandatory, where they only take 25 per cent of the purse. And I couldn’t see him winning a final eliminator.
“The plan was to fight Warrington in Leeds, at the end of July. That would have been a high-profile fight in the UK.
“Carl Frampton’s fighting Leo Santa Cruz (for the WBA featherweight title on July 30), then we were hoping Frampton would win, and we’d fight each other in a unification match. The fight’s simple to make.
“Warrington has been calling me out after every fight he has. Now the fight’s presented to him, he’s pulled out due to the fact he’s getting married at the end of the following month.”
The 25-year-old Warrington, who has also won the British and Commonwealth titles, had spoken of his desire to instead face Selby in 2017.
The IBF champion’s plan is to instead next face the winner of July’s fight between Carl Frampton and Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz. Of the two, Frampton would unquestionably represent the bigger fight, but the Welshman does not believe he can rely on him to win. “Santa Cruz is a bit underestimated,” he said. “He’s big at the weight, tall, rangy. He’s relentless, and he’s got a great chin. If Frampton can keep the boxing up for 12 rounds, without holding his feet, he can win.”