Updated: Dec 19, 2018
Josh Warrington will defend his IBF featherweight title against former WBA champion Carl Frampton at the Manchester Arena on December 22nd. The event will be televised on BT Sport Box Office (PPV) in the UK and on ESPN+ in the USA. Former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders will also be featured on the card against Charles Adamu.
Tale of the Tape – Warrington vs. Frampton
|Josh Warrington||Carl Frampton|
|Record||27-0-0 (6 KOs)||26-1-0 (15 KOs)|
|Nickname||“The Leeds Warrior”||“The Jackal”|
|Country||United Kingdom||United Kingdom|
Fight Breakdown – Warrington vs. Frampton
Josh Warrington was relatively unknown outside of the UK before he defeated Welshman Lee Selby in May to capture his first world title. Regardless of his name recognition, the Leeds-born Warrington had put together some solid performances against decent opposition before his title shot; his resume also includes solid wins over Hisashi Amagasa, Kiko Martinez, and Dennis Ceylan. In addition to his current IBF belt, Warrington has held the English, British, Commonwealth, and European titles at 126.
The challenger, Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton, has been around the block a few times. The 31-year-old found notable success first at 122 lbs, winning the Commonwealth and European titles in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Frampton won the IBF super bantamweight title in 2015 with a fifth-round TKO of American Chris Avalos. A year later, he added the WBA title with a win over the undefeated Scott Quigg. “The Jackal” entered “pound-for-pound” territory when he moved up in weight and defeated WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz in July of 2016 to become a two-weight world champion. The win over Mexico’s Santa Cruz earned him numerous “Fighter of the Year” honors and cemented his status in Irish boxing history. Frampton subsequently lost his featherweight belt in the rematch with Santa Cruz (his only loss to date) but has since rebounded with three straight victories.
Frampton is an excellent counter-puncher with experience, skills, and a good chin. He excels at coming in and out of punching range, using his footwork and head movement to avoid shots while delivering thudding blows both to the head and body. While he does not have ‘crazy’ power at featherweight, Frampton sits down on most of his shots and is usually very accurate. In his loss to Santa Cruz, Carl had trouble closing the gap against his opponent’s superior height/reach and was ultimately outworked and outboxed. One possible weakness I see is that Frampton can be predictable at times. Guys can see him coming but most are not able to really do anything about it, partially because they fear his power.
Josh Warrington is a very skilled fighter who relies on excellent footwork and fast hands to outbox his opponents. Warrington keeps his hands up and is very technically sound, with his main weakness being his lack of real knockout power. Though he has never lost as a pro, many (including his opponent Frampton) believe he was lucky to come out with a win against Spain’s Kiko Martinez back in 2017. In that fight, Warrington struggled to keep Martinez at bay and was hit quite a bit with solid punches.
I believe in order to win this fight, Warrington is going to have to step his game up to another level. “The Leeds Warrior” cannot have an off-night or under-perform against an elite fighter like Frampton. Warrington will need to use the jab (Santa Cruz threw over 400 of them in his win against Frampton), stay off the ropes, and avoid trading with the superior puncher. On the flip side, Frampton needs to go to the body and keep his work rate up, especially on the inside where he seemingly has the advantage.
Prediction – Warrington vs. Frampton
I predict a late round TKO victory for Carl Frampton. So far Warrington has shown a great chin, but something tells me that Frampton will find a way to stop him. I believe Warrington has the ability to win, but as I said before, he will have to rise to the occasion and fight the best fight of his career in order to do so. Frampton, on the other hand, is the more proven fighter and is the betting favorite for a reason. One thing is for sure, this has the makings to be a great fight for however long it lasts.
Who do you think will come out on top? How would the winner fare against the other featherweight champions? Comment below with your opinion.