By Jake Donovan
Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn now have two more weeks to play nice—or two more weeks to completely ignore one another altogether.
A purse bid hearing was looming overhead to determine promotional rights for Josh Warrington’s ordered defense of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight title versus mandatory challenger Kid Galahad. However, the originally scheduled January 24 date has now been pushed back to February 5.
News of the postponement was confirmed to BoxingScene.com by IBF spokesperson Jeanette Salazar. The rescheduled date will still take place at the sanctioning body’s New Jersey headquarters.
The mandatory title fight was ordered by the IBF on January 7, with the two sides granted a 30-day free negotiations period as is the case with any ordered title fight. At any point during said negotiations, either side can request the matter go straight to a purse bid hearing pursuant to IBF Rule 10A.
Hearn, Galahad’s promoter requested as such just five days after the fight was first mandated. It was a fitting development, as talks between camps figured to be a non-starter altogether given the contentious history between England’s two leading promoters.
Warrington (28-0, 6KOs) fights under the promotional guidance of Warren, who has openly claimed other existing offers for his star featherweight. Any direction other than his ordered mandatory title defense likely won’t fly with the IBF, who’d already approved a single voluntary title defense exemption in the Brit’s 12-round win over former two-division champ Carl Frampton last December.
In a recent first-person statement through his press office, Warren acknowledged his side agreeing to next face Galahad upon the blessing of the aforementioned title defense. However, there have been significant rule changes within the IBF in time between what he views as a binding agreement and present day.
A rule change late in the year altered the purse split between champion and mandatory challenger in the event an ordered title fight goes to purse bid. Whereas the old split fell 75/25 in favor of the champion, an approved revision in late December now calls for a 65/35 split.
“That rule was changed and approved,” Salazar pointed out to BoxingScene.com. “It was communicated to the promoters on 12/27 and it became effective on 1/1/2019 for all fights taking place from that day on.”
The shift doesn’t sit well with the veteran promoter from England, although the absence of a reached agreement between Warrington and Galahad muddies the waters.
“On the subject of IBF business, I do find it staggering that they have moved the goalposts, all of a sudden, regarding purse splits to 65-35 and I struggle to fathom the justification,” Warren openly questioned. “It is something we will be challenging because when we applied for the exception of Josh to fight Carl and agreed to the subsequent mandatory, the rule at the time was 75-25 and we based our decisions on that split.”
Warrington became featherweight champ following a hard-fought points win over Lee Selby last May. His lone defense was the aforementioned thriller with Frampton, which aired live on BT Sport Pay-Per-View in the UK and on ESPN+ in the U.S., the platforms of choice for Warren’s stable of boxers.
Galahad (26-0, 15KOs) became the mandatory challenger following a 12-round win over Toka Khan-Clary in their title eliminator this past October.
The bout marked Galahad’s U.S. debut, with the fight taking place in Boston, Mass. and shown live on DAZN USA and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, both of with whom Hearn enjoys lucrative deals. They also aired his most recent start, a stay-busy win last December in his hometown of Sheffield, England.
Regardless of the direction Warrington and Warren next head, Galahad’s next fight will be in fact for the IBF featherweight title.
Because his fight with Frampton was granted as a one-time voluntary title fight exemption, Warrington is obligated to honor his mandatory versus Galahad. The only other option would be to relinquish the title and pursue other avenues, which in turn, would put Galahad first in line for a shot at the vacant title versus the next-highest ranked available contender.