"Britain's version of Hagler-Hearns": Josh Warrington ready for unification fight after victory over Carl Frampton

Josh Warrington holds aloft his IBF featherweight title after his pulsating victory over Carl Frampton.
Josh Warrington holds aloft his IBF featherweight title after his pulsating victory over Carl Frampton.
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Josh Warrington vowed to take on a unification fight next after retaining his IBF title in a brilliant battle with Carl Frampton which promoter Frank Warren called “Britain’s version of Hagler and Hearns.”

Warrington added Frampton to his list of scalps with another pulsating performance at Manchester Arena, described by Warren as “the best world title fight I’ve ever seen in a British ring.”

Frampton was on the verge of being knocked down in the first two rounds as Warrington tore into him and punished him with a barrage of heavy shots.

The Leeds fighter’s dominance over 12 sensational rounds earned him a unanimous points decision from the three judges, giving him Frampton’s scalp just seven months after his victory over another of Britain’s top featherweights, Lee Selby.

Warrington will be installed as the UK’s number one fighter at nine-stone and is also the mandatory challenger to WBO champion Oscar Valdez after earning the governing body’s interim title.

The WBA belt is currently held by Leo Santa Cruz while America Gary Russell Jr is the WBC’s champion

Asked if he would look for a chance to unify titles in his next bout, Warrington said: “One hundred per cent. I need to be part of these big fights and I want to fight the best. Just bring them on. They’re all brilliant fighters. Any one of them.

“We worked on a few different game plans and I knew I had to get Carl’s respect from the off. I said in all the build-up I’ve got the power to hurt him. I’m not a Naseem Hamed but I’ve got the power to get respect off any of the world champions.

“I wasn’t going to dive in there and be silly but it was similar to the Selby fight: once you get his respect you can get in there and follow your game plan.

“I went through an emotional rollercoaster and I trained for 12 weeks like a demon. Once I stepped into this arena, I had something inside me which just won’t let me get beat.

“Carl’s still got my full respect. There were times this week where I thought ‘for f*** sake, why didn’t we have a steady defence?’ At the first bell I looked over at him and thought ‘I’ve got to be at my best’. I was a fan of him before and I’m still a fan now.”

Warren admitted he had never seen a more dramatic contest in his long career as a boxing promote

He likened the clash to the classic middleweight bout which took place between Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler in 1985.

“I've been in this business for 40-odd years,” Warren said. “That for me is the best title fight I’ve ever, ever seen in a British ring.

“It's one of those nights where you're going to say 'I was there.' It’s Britain’s version of Hagler and Hearn. They just went at it.

“He proved today’s he top echelon. I have to be honest, I think he’s the best featherweight in the world. The work rate - who could keep up with that?"