The latest in a long line of fascinating World Championship bouts sees Josh Warrington defend his IBF Featherweight belt against former WBA Super Featherweight champ Carl Frampton.
The fight is a tale of two cities as much as it is about two distinct fighting styles. Frampton, a Belfast boy, his opponent a Leeds lad. Both boast a fanatical following from their hometowns, and both sets of fans will descend on Manchester for Saturday’s fight.
Aside from an expected fevered atmosphere we can very much hope for an explosive and compelling contest.
Josh Warrington was a 3/1 underdog heading into his first and only title fight against the then champion Lee Selby. His performance in beating the Welshman was as unexpected as it was impressive.
His high-tempo, high-pressure approach put Selby on his back-foot throughout the fight. For one of the judges to give the fight to Selby by two rounds was a bit of a joke. How and ever, Warrington prevailed by split decision and now defends against Frampton.
A point of concern for Warrington, his camp, and his legion of Yorkshire fans, is that Selby was a hollowed out husk for that fight. The weight cut is understood to have emptied him entirely. This suspicion was only confirmed by the fact he immediately confirmed he would move up from the nine stone weight limit next time out.
On a considerably brighter note, Warrington has tools that can very much trouble his opponent. The tempo and volume he brings to the ring can bother Frampton in two ways, and possibly simultaneously.
Firstly, the current IBF champ won his scrap by racing into a lead against Selby, a similar start against Frampton and the Belfast native will have it all to do in the second half of the bout. Secondly, Warrington has the stamina to maintain a ferocious work-rate which compounds a scenario where Frampton may find himself behind early on.
In Frampton’s only professional defeat he was beaten down the stretch by Leo Santa Cruz and at this stage in his career there are more than a few miles on the clock.
“I’m not meant to win am I? I’m meant to just turn up with the belt and hand it over… well that’s not happening!” ❌
— Frank Warren (@frankwarren_tv) December 17, 2018
Carl Frampton can and will lean on one particular strength – pedigree. While those aforementioned miles can count against a fighter, conversely, they give a fighter much in return.
Boxing is often a puzzle. Standing right in front of you, a punching, grabbing, holding, dodging jigsaw riddle.
Frampton has faced more than his fair share of these opponents. With signature wins over Scott Quigg, Nonito Donaire, and in their first meeting Santa Cruz, the former Super Featherweight champion has solved most puzzles he’s faced with aplomb.
He also has a far superior knock-out ratio of 56 per cent to Warrington’s 22 per cent. Apart from the obvious, he’s more likely to knockout his opponent based on those figures, he’s more likely to hurt his opponent.
Warrington’s style is difficult. He’ll be non-stop, jabs and straights, tempo and volume. That said, with the right footwork, ringcraft and shot selection and timing, I think he can be picked apart. Selby was expected to deliver that test. Whether you think Selby failed to test Warrington, or Warrington did indeed pass that test, Frampton is a step up again.
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) December 18, 2018
I don’t expect a knockout here. Josh Warrington only has 6 KO’s on his 27/0 record. Frampton is the more concussive fighter but will likely rip to the body as a response to Warrington’s pressure. Low number combos and evasive movement should be the order of the day for the challenger.
If it plays out along these lines Warrington’s deficit in fighting IQ could be evident.
Carl Frampton to win by decision appears good value at a shade better than evens – Carl Frampton by Decision or Technical Decision