‘Defending my title against big names excites me’: Josh Warrington considers giving up his world crown in bid to target likes of pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko
- Josh Warrington could be willing to give up his world title for colossal fights
- Warrington was ‘almost in tears’ after no other champion was willing to fight him
- He could target the likes of pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko in future
- Warrington could drop his belt if he fails to land a huge unification fight next year
Josh Warrington could be willing to give up his world title and target the likes of pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko if he fails to land a huge unification fight in the next year.
The IBF featherweight champion faces the unheralded Sofiane Takoucht at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on October 12, having failed to secure fights with the likes of WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz, ex-WBO titlist Oscar Valdez and WBC king Gary Russell Jnr.
Warrington claims he was ‘almost in tears’ after being told no other champion would fight him. Santa Cruz and Valdez have both moved up to super-featherweight, while Warrington claimed he also offered to fight Scott Quigg. But the Bury fighter won’t return from injury in time, meaning France’s Takoucht has a chance to win his first world title next month.
Josh Warrington could be willing to give up his title and target the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko
‘If it comes to a stage where I’ve gone 12 months and there is no movement with any other champion then you have to consider champions at other weights or maybe former champions who are looking for that one last gasp, just to get a big name in there,’ Warrington said.
‘I want to be part of as many big fights as possible and defending my title against big names is what excites me… I did say prior to the (Kid) Galahad fight (in June), if I come through and can’t get a big defence then I’ll just wait. But I’ve realised you can’t be stale… I have to keep busy but we’ll see what 2020 brings.’ One other marquee name on Warrington’s radar is the brilliant Lomachenko, who beat Britain’s Luke Campbell in London last month.
The three-weight world champion is likely to continue to yoyo between featherweight, super-featherweight and lightweight and Leeds’ Warrington would relish the chance to face the great Ukrainian.
‘People seem surprised when I say I would take the opportunity but why wouldn’t I?’ He said.
‘I’d be a massive, massive, massive underdog and I’m not daft, I’d be fighting one of the sport’s greats but why wouldn’t I want to test myself?’ Warrington added: ‘He looked red-hot against Luke Campbell… it was unbelievable but if he came back to featherweight I’d put my hand up.’
Warrington claims he was ‘almost in tears’ after being told no other champion would fight him
For now, though, Warrington must put those dreams on hold. He had hoped to crack America after brilliant wins over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton in 2018.. But his career has since stalled, with a tight win over mandatory challenger Galahad his only outing so far in 2019.
‘I was speaking to (promoter) Frank (Warren) about the next fight and he was telling me the other fighters don’t want it. I was almost in tears to be honest, I was proper down because I’d told my fans we’d done Leeds and we’d do America now,’ he said.
‘I was on my hands and knees but he said ‘What more can I do?” Warrington added: ‘I don’t want to have 20 defences just to pad out my record and get paydays.’ If, as expected, the IBF champion comes through against Takoucht, fights against Russell Jnr or even promising American Shakur Stevenson may still materalise next year. Any slip up, though, could prove catastrophic.
‘If I get beat that all ends, and it gets delayed by two or three years and I don’t want that to happen. I don’t know if I have enough energy to do two or three more years,’ Warrington admitted. ‘You have to strike when the iron is hot. Especially after the last fight, I want to come back with an A-class performance.’
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