'I don't know why' - IBF champion Josh Warrington asks what else he needs to do to earn unified title shot
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The Leeds Warrior puts his IBF crown on the line against mandatory challenger Luis Alberto Lopez on December 10 at the Leeds Arena.
Warrington won the belt with a knockout victory over Kiko Martinez at the same venue in March. He had vacated the strap ahead of his first fight against Mexican Mauricio Lara before suffering the first loss of his career.
He won the title back in emphatic fashion with the seventh-round KO earlier this year and if he comes through his meeting with Lopez, he wants to face one of the division’s other title holders.
Léo Santa Cruz holds the WBA belt while the WBO and WBC crowns belong to Rey Vargas and Emanuel Navarrete, respectively.
Given how he first won the IBF strap against Lee Selby in 2018 before successful defences against Carl Frampton and Kid Galahad – Warrington feels he will have done enough to warrant his shot at unifying the division if he beats Lopez.
"I have unfinished business at featherweight, and then we will see what happens after that,” he said.
"I want to fight another champion in this division - I don't know what else I have to do. I vacated the belt in January 2021 but I have won it back.
"Since then, other fighters have got themselves into position [to fight for other titles].
"When I first won it in 2018, my first defence was against Carl Frampton and then my mandatory was Kid Galahad.
"They were up there [in the featherweight division] at the time. I felt I had done enough to give myself the right to go and fight another champion.
"I couldn't seem to get it over the line. I re-signed with Matchroom with the promise of getting one of those fights but they couldn't do anything about lockdown and then you had the Lara saga.
"Now I am back in position, if I get this one out of the way - I don't know why I can't go up against one of the other champions.
"It seems that some other fighters fall on their feet and get shots willy-nilly - what have I got to do to earn a shot at another champion? It has been a long time coming.”
Warrington is open to fighting WBA regular title holder Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara but wants his unified shot first.
He continued: “I just want to have that go. I don’t want to get to the end of my career and think I never had the chance to unify.
"There is talk about Leigh Wood but with him only having the regular title, it doesn’t qualify as a unification. There is talk about Mauricio Lara. I would absolutely love that fight because I would love to put it to bed as he has started to make it personal.
"First and foremost I would like to have a go at one of the champions. After that, Leigh Wood or Mauricio Lara again – I’d be open to anything.”
Warrington is coming into the fight after spending the first three months of his second reign as IBF champion out of action. He was put on a liquid diet after suffering a broken jaw against Martinez while he also damaged ligaments in his hand.
"So far, so good. I have got a plate in there now, it might be even stronger than it was,” he said of his injuries. “It took a long, long time to get back to full strength.
"Starting again after three months of doing nothing is quite frustrating. Hopefully I can get through this one unscathed - I just want to get the momentum behind me again.”