Underdog Sofiane Takoucht poses a real threat to Josh Warrington’s IBF world featherweight crown

When Josh Warrington’s bout with Sofiane Takoucht was first announced, footage of the Frenchman in action quickly disappeared from the internet.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 11th October 2019, 10:29 am
Josh Warrington at The Carriagewrorks, Leeds, ahead of his IBF world featherweight title fight with Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht. PIC: Steve Riding

Warrington’s camp have had to delve deep into the archives to get an idea of the southpaw’s style ahead of Saturday night’s contest at the Leeds First Direct Arena.

The 33-year-old Frenchman has won 35 of his 39 professional bouts, losing three and drawing the other.

Saturday’s challenger is on an eight-fight winning streak, last losing to Belgian Alexander Miskirtchian in January 2014.

Josh Warrington and Sofiane Takoucht face off. PIC: Steve Riding

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“Three other world champions turned this fight down, but Sofiane took this fight in a breath,” said Warrington’s trainer and father Sean O’Hagan.

“He jumped at the opportunity to become a world champion but he has got to come and he has got to rip it away.

“I have seen a little bit of him, there are a lot of things that have gone missing on social media.

“But I do know about him, we have studied him and he is a very, very good fighter.

A relaxed Josh Warrington. PIC: Steve Riding

“So anybody who says it is an easy fight, it is completely the opposite of an easy fight.

“Two of his three losses have been dubious and we have had to prepare for everything he is going to bring to the table.

“So, on Saturday we are going to make a statement, and prove we have the best featherweight on the planet.”

Warrington and his team have got their game plan formulated for Saturday night as they aim to go 30 professional fights without defeat.

“You have got to get an idea of how he moves, how he comes forward, the shots he throws and his downfalls as well,” said world champion Warrington.

“You get an idea of that, picture it in your mind and then come up with a game plan.

“Most of it has been left to my dad. He has come up with the game plan and I watch a bit of footage to get my own idea.”

It is a fight that the current IBF featherweight champion is expected to win, with some bookmakers making the Leeds fighter 1/100 on to claim victory.

However, the Leeds Warrior is well aware of the dangers that Takoucht possesses.

The Frenchman has never been stopped and has knocked out 13 of his opponents.

Warrington’s promoter, Frank Warren, pointed to Anthony Joshua’s shock loss against Andy Ruiz at Madison Square Garden in June to highlight that no fight comes easy.

And Warrington’s camp have left no stone unturned in pursuit of a 30th-straight win for the Leeds fighter.

“We are fighting for a world title here, if he [Takoucht] wasn’t highly ranked he wouldn’t be eligible,” insisted Warrington.

“Anyone who is in the opposite corner is dangerous, it doesn’t matter if it is Donald Duck, and I have always said that.

“You move so slowly up the ladder and when you get to a world title you think fights are going to get easy, but it doesn’t work like that.

“It is very difficult. You can’t allow yourself to slip, you need to do the business and do it well.”