Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton Preview
By Ben Blackwell
If you asked boxing fans five years ago would Josh Warrington (27-0) & Carl Frampton (26-1) be seen as a viable fight in the future, the majority would have said a very very firm no. Time is a funny thing in life not just in boxing. Circumstances change, paths are altered, success is achieved, potential fulfilled which creates the collision course which takes place Saturday night in Manchester.
Promoter Frank Warren returns to the scene to some of his most prominent promotions, Manchester Arena (MEN) with Josh Warrington making the maiden defence of his IBF World Featherweight title in the most testing bout of his career against the man they call the “Jackal” in Frampton.
The journeys of both fighters surprisingly to some have stark similarities and opposites, Frampton a decorated amateur, Warrington himself a solid amateur. However Frampton coming up through the ranks with Matchroom and Cyclone Promotions rose to his deserved prominence on Sky Sports, Boxnation & ITV. We saw Carl pick up Celtic, Commonwealth and world titles, huge fights with Quigg to unify at super-bantam, defeated Leo Santa Cruz to claim world glory at feather and lose to Santa Cruz in the rematch.
However, it is no secret that in recent years it has been a turbulent period for Carl outside of the ring with his very public split with Barry McGuigan & Cyclone promotions stemming from July last year. Accusations from both sides and the tit for tat of legal lawsuits continue but did allow Carl to link up with Frank Warren and trainer Jamie Moore. Following a shaky debut under Moore against Horacio Garcia, Carl impressed against Nonito Donaire and Luke Jackson in consecutive bouts to dispel fears that he might be done or declining rapidly.
Josh Warrington is a man who is very much on the way up and has been for sometime. A man who has been written off for years mainly and sadly due to his association of being a Leeds United supporter and not his boxing ability, has followed a similar path of winning titles at domestic, European and now world level just like Carl. Josh previously was often the victim of being called just being a ticket seller or just picking up the titles which his then rival, Lee Selby had previously vacated as the Welshmen targeted the world stage.
Warrington could have picked a much easier defence for his IBF world crown however with Barry Awad (Kid Galahad) waiting as mandatory for both men, the contest between Warren’s premier featherweights ultimately made sense for all involved as well as the boxing public being treated to an all British showdown.
Technically speaking each fighters style varies from one another to at least on paper suggest the styles will gel. Frampton will look to counter and fight with the space preferably centre ring and use his hand speed and timing Warrington who will be looking to work on the inside and work plentiful.Frampton will have to use his experience at the highest level to his benefit in knowing when to launch his attacks when Warrington has a breather, making sure Warrington cannot time his retaliation.
The main key for Frampton just like many others will be attempting to take the legs and gas tank away from Warrington. To myself anyway, Warrington is arguably the most active and fittest featherweight globally with his punch-output and never really seems to tire. Carl is however a very aggressive body puncher and his technique of slipping to get a foot on the inside and firing off to the body demonstrated against both Donaire,Jackson and his encounter with Santa Cruz was the foundation for those victories in tiring out those three fighters in particular.
Warrington’s keys to victory will be maintaining his very high workrate and pressure Carl into a similar type of fight and exploit the known issues with Frampton’s stamina. Frampton has a history of tiring down the stretch in fights most notably against Quigg, Santa Cruz (x2) and Horacio Garcia. These issues will always maintain Warrington’s hope if he does feel he is behind on the scorecards that he can come from behind to claim victory if needed. Carl has stated that those issues are a thing of the past and that he was previously over-trained under the former training regime of Shane McGuigan.
Warrington will also need to smother the work of Frampton and make the contest a close-up affair and not allowing Carl the space to be effective. Warrington was excellent at this against Lee Selby on that night at Elland Road and will need a repeat that work against Frampton, not because of a size difference but to negate the technique of the Belfast native. That in my view will be the ultimate key in the affair.
The contest truly is a 50/50 affair and more than fitting of it’s billing on BT PPV and to many a superior product to what is on offer on the same night as Matchroom Boxing at the O2 Arena. The undercard to the main event is just appealing.
Heading up the undercard will be Martin Murray (37-4-1) who will face former world champion, Hassan N’Dam (36-3), with Murray defending his WBC silver middleweight title of which he won earlier this year against Roberto Garcia. The contest is another thriller with both fighters known for their come forward styles. However, the victor of the bout could possibly leave themselves with no route to progress via the WBC rankings but would possibly open avenues with either Danny Jacobs or Demetrius Andrade in 2019.
A Potential bill stealer between Mark Heffron (21-0) and Liam Williams (18-2-1) for the vacant British middleweight title. A fight that came together through the respective pull-outs of Jason Welborn & JJ Metcalf due to greater opportunity and injury respectively. Another clash which see’s both fighters styles match-up perfectly to create a barnstormer with both unwilling to take a step back in their nature.
Michael Conlon (9-0) takes his first sizable step-up in opponent calibre against former two-weight Commonwealth champion Jason Cunningham (24-5) over ten rounds.The featherweight contest will act as barometer for Conlon who will face a fighter with a winning mentality and in many ways getting the stage of which he deserves after plying his trade via the small hall circuit for the majority of his career.
Heavyweight Nathan Gorman (14-0) faces former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu (16-4) over twelve rounds following the pull out of Alex Leapai. Cojanu who challenged Joseph Parker in 2017, was originally scheduled to face Daniel Dubois last weekend however Daniel was forced to pull out due to the flu.
Former WBO world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (26-0) returns following the breakdown of his WBO title defence against Demetrius Andrade of which saw Billy’s world crown taken away due to issues regarding drug testing and unable to gain a licence to box in Massachusetts and defend his title against Andrade in October. Billy despite this returns with no suspension attached with the backing of both the BBBofC and UKAD.
Also featuring on the bill will be Tommy Fury, the brother of Tyson,making his pro debut along with Paddy Barnes, Troy Williamson, Harvey Horn, Lyndon Arthur, Jack Massey, Sam Maxwell.