Carl Frampton’s trainer Jamie Moore admitted that IBF champion Josh Warrington would be a “more difficult fight than we anticipated” after Warrington produced what Moore called his “Ricky Hatton moment” on Saturday night.
Moore – a former British, European and Commonwealth champion – said Warrington’s points victory over Lee Selby in a brutal featherweight battle at Elland Road had confounded his pre-fight expectations and confirmed Warrington as a “world-class” boxer.
Moore and Frampton were among the Elland Road crowd, with Moore running the corner for Lancashire fighter Jack Catterall and both working as pundits for BBC Five Live during the main event, as Warrington ended Selby’s three-year reign as IBF holder to become Leeds’ first-ever boxing world champion.
Talk afterwards turned immediately to a showdown with Frampton, Northern Ireland’s former two-weight world champion. Frampton is scheduled to fight at Windsor Park in Belfast on August 18 but Moore said a meeting so soon would not suit Warrington.
His comments echoed the post-match remarks of Warrington and promoter Frank Warren, both of whom indicated that an all-British clash with Frampton is likely to wait until 2019. Warrington planned to speak with Warren and manager Steve Wood about his options this week. His first IBF defence is expected to take place in Leeds later this year.
Moore told the YEP: “You could argue that you strike while the iron’s hot but I spoke to Josh on the radio after he beat Selby and I said to him ‘Carl Frampton in 12 weeks’ time isn’t the fight you need’.
I wouldn’t worry about taking Carl anywhere. He’s fought in Vegas and New York. We saw what Elland Road was like and he’d thrive on that.Carl Frampton’s trainer Jamie Moore
“He’s been through 12 tough rounds, he’s achieved a lifetime’s ambition and he needs to go away and enjoy it. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think he’d win. I thought he’d give a good performance but I didn’t expect that against a fighter like Selby.
“The whole occasion reminded me of Ricky Hatton against Kostya Tszyu. It was that sort of moment. Josh’s performance has made it a more difficult fight for us than we anticipated. Having seen him fight like that, we might have to come up with a few different ideas.”
Moore said Frampton is adamant that his next fight will take place in Belfast, describing the chance to appear at Windsor Park as “a boyhood dream” for the 31-year-old. Warrington – a lifelong Leeds United fan – achieved one of his own by appearing in front of around 20,000 at Elland Road.
Frampton has been training with Manchester-based Moore since ending a long association with Barry and Shane McGuigan last year.
He split with the McGuigans after losing the WBA featherweight title to Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz at the start of 2017, the only loss on his 26-fight record. Moore said Frampton remains the bigger draw than Warrington, but insisted he would willingly follow Selby’s lead by confronting a hostile crowd at Elland Road.
In 2016 Frampton agreed to travel to Manchester for a hotly-anticipated IBF and WBA super-bantamweight bout against Bury’s Scott Quigg. Frampton earned a split decision in his final outing in that division.
“I wouldn’t worry about taking Carl anywhere,” Moore said. “He’s fought in Vegas and New York. We saw what Elland Road was like and he’d thrive on that. As it stands, Carl’s the bigger draw worldwide and he’s in the driving seat.
“Right now I feel the fight would be in Belfast. But if Josh gets a couple of defences in and keeps growing his fanbase, in six to 12 months’ time who knows? It would have to be negotiated. I know I’m his trainer but Carl would be a very hard fight for Josh.
“Carl’s experienced, he’s well travelled, he’s got real class and I think he’s getting better. He’s at a different level. We’d be very confident. I’d back Carl against any featherweight in the world.”