Warrington vs Frampton: Who Will Win the IBF Featherweight Championship?
Josh Warrington’s set to stop the world on the 22nd of December as he defends his hard-won IBF Featherweight Championship title from contender Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena.
Boxing fans, this isn’t one to miss. Warrington’s skills have sent him hurtling through the featherweight history, ranking sixth best worldwide featherweight boxer by BoxRec, and second-best British featherweight boxer.
This fight for the IBF Championship is a neck-to-neck challenge and is certain to have fans on the edge of their seat – let’s break down why that is.
Warrington has a perfect 27/27 record underneath his fight belt, so finding a contester to his claim as Britain’s second-best featherweight boxer hasn’t been easy! At 28, with a professional career spanning eight years, Warrington has battled through the ranks of Britain’s featherweight boxers. Winning his IBF Featherweight Championship after a 12-round slog with four-year IBG Featherweight Championship belt holder Lee Selby. Before then, it was a stretch of local boxers on home turf, which he destroyed in six rounds or less.
The win against Lee Selby was a judge’s decision, upsetting odds that saw Warrington as the loser in that particular match. This year history is set to repeat itself, with pundits considering 27-time-winner Warrington as the underdog in his battle against Carl Frampton.
Warrington’s hands-down victory over Lee Selby was in part due to his unbeatable tenacity. While the hard-punching Selby gave him a beatdown for the ages, Warrington ducked, weaved, and stayed resolutely in the ring, making his long-won victory a triumph of slow and steady wins the race.
Warrington managed to goad Selby into positions where the option was either to go big, and pummel Warrington to a pulp, or back off. With such high stakes, the only result was an opponent pulling no punches and keeping nothing at bay – a risky manoeuvre for Warrington. One punch could have ended his future victory then and there, but it worked out, proving that underdogs in boxing are, more often than you think, a success story.
Irishman Frampton is a two-weight division fighter who has the prominent accolade of being only the second Irishman to hold world titles in two divisions. BoxRec also classifies him as the third best worldwide featherweight boxer, putting him a cut above Warrington in terms of sheer global experience.
Frampton began his career as an amateur boxer in Ireland, moved onto super-bantamweight in 2009, and started his professional streak as the beast to beat. In nearly 8 years, Frampton has only lost a single match against Léo Santa Cruz, a rematch of his 2016 battle with the boxer that won him his WBA Super-featherweight title. Frampton definitely has more international experience than Warrington, with a cavalcade of international contenders fighting him on home turf.
Frampton’s mass appeal and no-holds-barred approach to boxing are sharp reminders that Frampton’s experience is not something to forget about. While he has one loss in comparison to Warrington, Frampton has fought a multitude of contenders, and is used to pummelling the opposition until they’re defeated. Sporting a similar technique to the one used by Warrington to beat Selby, it’s easy to see how this fight can be anyone’s game.
However, it should be noted that Frampton’s been away from the scene for a while. His defeat by Santa Cruz derailed his career slightly, with a ten-month inactivity period following. Frampton’s biggest weakness could be that he isn’t prepared to go for the long haul in his first major match since Santa Cruz.
It’s difficult to tell as both boxers have a lot at stake, and with similar fighting styles and records, this could be an all-or-nothing match for at least one of the contenders. On paper, Warrington looks like the underdog – Frampton has the experience and the real-life oomph to set him sailing through this match without a setback.
That said, this is the exact situation that Josh Warrington found himself in in 2017 with Lee Selby, and that turned in Warrington’s favour. There’s no reason why Frampton can’t clinch another last minute victory and retain his IBF Featherweight title.
There’s also the fact that Warrington’s biggest claim to fame is his tenacity. Frampton can come at him with a flurry of blows, but if Warrington manages to match him and to turn the tide, it’s going to be difficult for Frampton to gain an edge. There’s also a reason that Warrington hasn’t lost a match – he’s good, and while Frampton is equally capable, his long-term absence from the scene could give Warrington the upper hand.
If Frampton manages to out-think, out-manoeuvre, and out-pace Warrington, he stands a chance of winning the IBF Featherweight Championship, but that’s a big ‘if’. Until match day, it’ll be difficult to tell who’ll take the IBF Featherweight Championship belt home.
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