Josh Warrington could make a return to the ring in February before a summer blockbuster fight at the home of Leeds United, according to his promoter, Frank Warren.
Warrington made short work of Sofiane Takoucht in the third defence of his IBF featherweight title at the First Direct Arena, Leeds, on Saturday, taking less than two rounds to stop the Frenchman.
“He made a statement,” said Warren, who has found few takers in his bid to get Warrington a unification fight.
Having got close to securing Warrington a fight with Oscar Valdez, only for the Californian to give up the WBO title to move up in weight, a fight with Leo Santa Cruz also failed to materialise as Warren’s offers were rebuffed and a counter offer of $500,000 was considered as well below the asking price.
“We offered them vastly more to come here, but they were not interested,” Warren said. “There are two ways of getting out of a fight you don’t want, one is to say no, the other is to price yourself out of it.”
Warren insists that while Warrington is more than happy to travel for a big fight, it makes more success for the fights to take place in Britain. “I don’t see any of the featherweights that can sell tickets like he can,” Warren said.
Can Xu, the Chinese boxer who holds the WBA “regular” title, is perhaps the most likely opponent for a unification fight right now, but he defends his title against Manny Robles III in California on November 23. One other option, Shakur Stevenson, boxes Joet Gonzalez for the vacant WBO title in Reno on October 26.
Because of the football season, Elland Road, the home of Leeds United – where Warrington beat Lee Selby to claim the title in 2018 – would not be available until mid-May, leaving the prospect of Warrington having another fight in the meantime.
“If we go back to Elland Road, we are looking at May,” Warren said. “So if we want to get a fight in before that, we will be looking at February. Josh needs a big fight, he has earned it.
“But the other champions are not stupid. They know how good Josh is and that’s why they are reluctant to take it.”