Josh Warrington wants unified featherweight title fight with Leo Santa Cruz this autumn

In an ideal world, Josh Warrington wanted to be back in the ring twice more this year but the brutal injuries he picked up last month have dashed those hopes – his plans to fight in the United States of America, however, are still on track.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Warrington damaged his hand and required surgery on a broken jaw after beating Kiko Martinez to win the IBF title at the Leeds Arena.

The Leeds Warrior knocked his opponent out in the seventh round but did not come through unscathed as his jaw was broken during the contest.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That has ruled him out of training until the end of May but Warrington is still hopeful of fighting again in October.

He revealed that his initial plans, before suffering his injuries, was to have a fight in the summer – potentially against fellow Brit Leigh Wood at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground – then another contest in the autumn.

Warrington had barely been out of the gym since drawing with Mauricio Lara in September but his six-week hiatus is likely going to limit him to two fights this year.

“It’s frustrating because I never stopped training from the second Lara fight,” he said.

“I was back in the gym after a few weeks.

CHAMPION: Josh Warrington. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.CHAMPION: Josh Warrington. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
CHAMPION: Josh Warrington. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I was training all the way through Christmas until fighting Kiko. In my head I was going to have a week off, give myself a holiday, have a bit of sun, recharge the batteries and then I thought I’d be out in June time and then October.

“I thought I’d be out at least three times this year.

“But yeah, it’s a summer off. Six weeks, killer, absolute killer!”

Warrington hopes he can fight WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz later this year, with the Mexican moving back to featherweight after three years fighting in bigger weight classes.

LEO SANTA CRUZ: Is who Josh Warrington wants to face next. Picture: Getty Images.LEO SANTA CRUZ: Is who Josh Warrington wants to face next. Picture: Getty Images.
LEO SANTA CRUZ: Is who Josh Warrington wants to face next. Picture: Getty Images.

Wood, who holds the WBA ‘regular’ belt, is also in line for a contest with Santa Cruz but Warrington feels that he deserves a shot first.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Santa Cruz is a name that I’ve been shouting out for a long, long time. He was champion when I first became world champion in 2018,” he continued. “I’ve been saying for a long time I want to go to the States.

“I’ve done everything I want to do over here. It’s just something that’s a personal goal to fight in America, to fight in someone’s backyard, so why not have a fight over there?

“I know Leigh Wood wants to fight him, but I was here first.

“I know he was world champion now before I was, but I’ve been at this level before him. Back in 2018, he was just waiting for opportunities. I hope I can push in front of him and I promise him, if I do the business against Santa Cruz, he will be my first defence.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There are other options out there for Warrington if he wants to fulfil his ambition of fighting in America. He could have a third match-up with Lara who is increasing his profile in the USA.

Unified contests against the WBO and WBC featherweight champions – Emanuel Navarrete and Mark Magsayo – are also a possibility.