IBF featherweight world champion Josh Warrington and former two-division world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton have promised to let their fists do the talking when they clash in front of an expected sold-out Manchester Arena crowd on Saturday, Dec. 22.
In an early Christmas present for United States boxing fans, the Warrington vs. Frampton card will stream live and exclusively beginning at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN +
And, in a special attraction, top featherweight prospect Michael “Mick” Conlan will make his final ring appearance of 2018.
"I am truly honored that ESPN+ will be showing my fight," Warrington said. "I announced myself onto the world stage by winning the world title, and now I want to show the American audience who Josh Warrington is by beating Carl Frampton. The long-term aim is to fight in the United States, so this is preparing the audience! The fans are going to witness something special on Dec. 22."
“It is fantastic news that my bid to become a world champion again will be screened live on such a heavily subscribed US platform as ESPN+,” Frampton said. “It is always a thrill to know that your fights are being showcased to an American audience, and I fully believe they will see something special from me on Dec. 22 when I become a two-time world champion at featherweight. Then, I will look to unify against one of the top American world titleholders in 2019.”
“I am really excited to be fighting on the same card as my stablemate and friend, Carl Frampton,” Conlan said. “I am looking to step up in class and reach 10-0 as a pro by Christmas. The Conlan Revolution rolls into Manchester!”
Warrington (27-0, 6 KOs) hails from Leeds, England, only 45 miles from Manchester. A nine-year pro, he climbed the ranks steadily, winning British, Commonwealth, and European featherweight title honors. In May of last year, he turned away a gritty challenge by former 122-pound world champion Kiko Martinez en route to a majority decision victory. He earned his world title the hard way, grinding out a split decision against Lee Selby on May 19 in front of 20,000-plus hometown fans at the Elland Road Football Grounds in Leeds.
Frampton (26-1, 15 KOs) is one of the most accomplished lighter-weight fighters of this generation, having taken part in six world title bouts against top-flight competition. The Belfast, Ireland, native won the IBF junior featherweight title against Kiko Martinez on Sept. 6, 2014 in Belfast. He defended that belt three times, a title reign distinguished by the remarkable quality of his opposition. In consecutive bouts, he defeated Scott Quigg to unify two of the 122-pound belts and outpointed Leo Santa Cruz to win the WBA featherweight title. Santa Cruz defeated Frampton by majority decision in a January 2017 rematch, but Frampton has rebounded to win three straight fights at featherweight, including a unanimous decision win against four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire to snag an interim world title.
Conlan (9-0, 6 KOs) has kept a busy schedule since turning pro on St. Patrick’s Day evening 2017 with a third-round TKO against Tim Ibarra in front of a sold-out Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden crowd. The two-time Irish Olympian and 2012 bronze medalist just fought Oct. 20 in Las Vegas, knocking out the defensive-minded Nicola Cipolletta in the seventh round. His upcoming bout, against an opponent to be determined, will be his fifth of 2018.