CHAM­PION DIS­PLAY

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - PHIL HAY SPORTS WRITER ■ Email: [email protected]­me­dia.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @PhilHayYEP

Vic­to­ri­ous Leeds boxer Josh War­ring­ton, pic­tured with Leeds United cap­tain Liam Cooper, re­tained his IBF feath­er­weight world ti­tle belt by de­feat­ing Carl Framp­ton on points at Manch­ester Arena.

JOSH WAR­RING­TON said he was ready to take his ca­reer “state­side” and move straight onto an­other mar­quee fight af­ter a pul­sat­ing vic­tory over Carl Framp­ton in­stalled him as the UK’s num­ber one feath­er­weight.

War­ring­ton climbed to the top of the do­mes­tic rank­ings and be­came the Bri­tish fighter with the long­est un­beaten run with a bril­liant points win over Carl Framp­ton at Manch­ester Arena on Satur­day night.

A unan­i­mous de­ci­sion against Framp­ton at the end of 12 ab­sorb­ing rounds saw War­ring­ton make a suc­cess­ful first de­fence of his IBF feath­er­weight ti­tle and ex­tend his per­fect pro­fes­sional record to 28 wins. Terry Flana­gan, the Manch­ester-based lightwel­ter­weight, pre­vi­ously held the record for an un­beaten by a Bri­tish boxer prior to his de­feat to Amer­ica’s Mau­rice Hooker in June.

War­ring­ton has ripped apart the nine-stone divi­sion by scalp­ing Framp­ton and Lee Selby, the for­mer IBF cham­pion, in the space of seven months and the 28-year-old wants to throw him­self into an im­me­di­ate clash with an­other world-ti­tle holder next year.

“That’s what we’re pre­pared to do,” War­ring­ton said. “It’s the mo­men­tum that keeps us go­ing.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a long build-up to this one (the Framp­ton fight). I feel like it’s been com­ing for a long time but I like it busy. Next year we’ll take the boys state­side and the jour­ney con­tin­ues – in Las Ve­gas, or some­thing like that. I wouldn’t mind a lit­tle away trip.

“For the last four or five years I’ve been sell­ing out Leeds Arena and even though they weren’t world-ti­tle fights, they could eas­ily have been. Now that we’ve pushed through Lee Selby and Carl Framp­ton, I’m world cham­pion and I want to fight the best. I want to keep go­ing.”

Framp­ton was ranked as Bri­tain’s top feath­er­weight be­fore Satur­day’s bout on ac­count of a ca­reer which had earned him world belts at both nine-stone and su­per-ban­tamweight but the Belfast puncher last held a ma­jor ti­tle in Jan­uary 2017, when he lost the WBA’s feath­er­weight ver­sion to Leo Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz con­tin­ues to hold that ti­tle with Os­car Valdez stand­ing as the WBO’s cham­pion. Gary Rus­sell Jr has re­tained the WBC’s belt since 2015.

Valdez suf­fered a bro­ken jaw in his last bout against Scott Quigg in March but is due to make his come­back on Jan­uary 12. War­ring­ton is front of the queue to face the Mex­i­can af­ter be­ing awarded the WBO’s in­terim ti­tle on Satur­day night.

War­ring­ton said he hoped that his dra­matic per­for­mance against Framp­ton would si­lence long-stand­ing ques­tions about his abil­ity to cope at the high­est level.

“We’ll have to see what so­cial me­dia says,” he joked. “There’ll al­ways be those knock­ers. Look at Floyd May­weather. He’s 50-0 and he still gets some but that makes me to the long­est un­beaten Bri­tish fighter.

“I’m not the fastest, I’m not the strong­est, I’m not the most in­tel­li­gent or the flash­est boxer but I al­ways wear my heart on my sleeve. Maybe peo­ple will start to look at me as hav­ing a bit of a chin as well as a punch. I’ve al­ways been able to take one.”

War­ring­ton and Framp­ton avoided any con­tro­versy in the build-up to their clash and spoke highly of each other at the end of a bout which matched its billing as fight-of-the-year.

Framp­ton ad­mit­ted that he had been beaten “fair and square” and said he would pon­der his fu­ture in the months ahead af­ter a se­cond pro­fes­sional de­feat.

“Me and Carl both said be­fore­hand that you can go in with full re­spect and still have a fight like that,” War­ring­ton said. “You don’t have to be bad mouthing each other and you don’t need to trade in­sults to sell a fight. It’s two sports­men in their prime want­ing to prove who’s the best. It lived up to ev­ery­thing.”

War­ring­ton’s trainer and fa­ther, Sean O’Ha­gan, urged Framp­ton not to hang up his gloves.

“I don’t think that’s the last we’re go­ing to see of him,” O’Ha­gan said. “Peo­ple say­ing he’s done af­ter that per­for­mance? Do me a favour. Carl’s not done yet.”

I’m world cham­pion and I want to fight the best. I want to keep go­ing.

Josh War­ring­ton says he won’t be hang­ing up his gloves af­ter de­fend­ing his ti­tle.

PIC­TURE: STEVE RID­ING

PIC­TURES: STEVE RID­ING

AND STILL...: Leeds’ IBF world feath­er­weight cham­pion Josh War­ring­ton, above right, slugs it out with chal­lenger Carl Framp­ton in Manch­ester of Satur­day night. War­ring­ton, left, af­ter re­tain­ing his belt with a unan­i­mous points vic­tory.

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