Boxing: World-title showdown on the cards for Warrington

Leeds' Josh Warrington in powerhouse action against Japan's Hisashi Amagasa.
Leeds' Josh Warrington in powerhouse action against Japan's Hisashi Amagasa.
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BOXING promoter Eddie Hearn is considering whether to “roll the dice” and throw Leeds featherweight Josh Warrington into an immediate world-title showdown with IBF champion Lee Selby.

Warrington successfully defended his WBC international featherweight belt with Saturday night’s defeat of awkward Japanese challenger Hisashi Amagasa at a noisy First Direct Arena. In doing so, Warrington, who is also European and Commonwealth champion, made it 23 fights unbeaten and now his date with destiny could be next. Both Warrington and his Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn seem tempted to give the Leeds puncher one more fight before sending the 25-year-old into battle with Welshman Selby for a fight that has long been envisaged as taking place at Elland Road. Yet Hearn feels he may have difficulty finding Warrington another opponent as tough as Amagasa and has strongly hinted that Selby versus Warrington could be next.

Any Elland Road bout would probably have to take place in June or July – outside the football season – and Hearn admitted: “It could be next.

“The problem is, when you fight a guy like Amagasa, what’s the next level? Stylistically, Amagasa is very, very difficult, maybe as difficult as Selby.

“So what time do you do it? For me, he is as prepared now as he could potentially ever be so if we roll the dice next, we roll the dice. I think one more, max’, but it’s who are we going to fight.

“I just like the (Selby) fight. I think it’s a good fight and two Brits fighting for a world title, everybody loves to see it. Selby wants it, and Josh wants it, it’s just a case of he’s got a great thing going here so it’s a case of ‘do I have one more or do I jump into Selby?’ I think the fans want the Selby fight now so if it’s the right thing for Josh’s progression then that’s what we’ll do.”

Warrington blasted out of the blocks against Amagasa – steamrollering his opponent in the first few rounds – but the Japanese fighter then more than held his own.

Warrington again became dominant in the latter stages and opened up a nasty cut above Amagasa’s eye. Even so, there were some quizzical looks regards the extremity of the scoring with the Leeds fighter awarded the contest 117-111, 118-111, 120-107, this last score looking particularly baffling.

Warrington said: “There’s a little bit of learning that needs to be done but I am always improving, I’m still only 25 and when that opportunity comes I’m ready for it.

“Lee Selby is the fight the Leeds people want, the fight I want and I just think I have got what it takes to beat him.”