Lee Selby and Josh Warrington have been told they are fighting to secure a “Battle of Britain” against Carl Frampton as well as for the IBF featherweight title at Elland Road on Saturday night.
Frampton plans to fight at Belfast’s Windsor Park in August, and the winner of Selby-Warrington could oppose him as soon as then, should they come through Saturday relatively unscathed.
With the Northern Irishman expected to be approaching his final fights there will be little time for either Selby or Warrington to earn what could prove their most lucrative purse against him should they lose, and it is that, as well as world-title glory and their rivalry, that drives them.
Jamie Sanigar, the manager of Welsh defending champion Selby, has contacted the British Boxing Board of Control over what he described as the “racist overtones” involved in Warrington’s co-trainer Nick Manners bringing two blow-up sheep dolls to Friday’s weigh-in.
Warrington’s supporters also reportedly punched and kicked the van being used by the Selby camp as they left, and fight promoter Frank Warren told Press Association Sport of their rivalry and the prospect of Frampton: “It’s really driving them, and there’s a lot of needle between these guys.
“I know how Warrington feels about him. When they were close up for the face-off there were some nasty things being said.
“The fight (with Frampton) will happen. It’s when it will happen. We’ll see how that happens, because it could be a unification match. But whatever happens, the winner will want to fight Frampton, and Frampton will want to fight the winner.
“It depends on the outcome of (Saturday’s) fight, and we haven’t got the luxury of time. We’ll make all of the decisions on Monday or Tuesday.
“It’ll be a Battle of Britain and the money involved for both sides will be great – it’ll be phenomenal money for them all.
“It’s a fantastic position for Carl, and for us, and for the winner of Warrington-Selby.”
Leeds’ Warrington, who on Friday weighed in at 8st 12lbs, one pound lighter than the champion, explained: “In 2016 (Selby) accused me of ducking a fight against him and that wasn’t the case.
“I haven’t forgotten what he said because it got a little bit personal between us. That’s why he was always my pick as a world champion to face.”
“When the bell rings it will just be me and Warrington in the ring and the crowd can shout and scream all they want, it won’t make any difference,” said the 31-year-old Selby.
Triple Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams, in her fourth outing since turning professional, fights Argentina’s little-known Soledad del Valle Frias on the undercard.