Why Josh Warrington vacated his IBF featherweight title

Josh Warrington has vacated his IBF featherweight title after the governing body refused to sanction a unification bout.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 10:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 10:11 am
Josh Warrington. Picture: Getty Images.

The 30-year-old had hoped to face WBA champion Can Xu or WBC king Gary Russell later this year after his contest with Mexican Mauricio Lara next month.

However, the IBF had ordered a rematch with Kid Galahad, Warrington’s mandatory challenger, whom he beat on points in 2019.

The Leeds Warrior, who has previously based himself out of Dicky’s Gym in Batley, will now look to face Xu or Russell for the highly-coveted Ring Magazine belt.

Warrington said: “It’s disappointing we couldn’t have the IBF title on the line, but I can’t let those decisions stand in the way of me going down in British boxing history by facing the very best in the division.

“I’ve always dreamed about winning the Ring belt, for me it leaves no doubt who the king of the division is.

“Right now, my mind and focus is on Lara for February 13 and then I’m looking to pick up that beautiful red and blue belt.”

There is a risk in vacating his world title but Warrington has put full trust in his promoter Eddie Hearn to secure a mega clash with Xu or Russell once he has faced Lara.

“This is where I have to put the faith into the matchmakers and likes of Eddie to make these fights happen,” he added.

“That comes down to me as well putting on a monster performance so people will be excited to see me back in there.”

Hearn has been working with fellow promoters to tie up a fight for the Ring Magazine belt.

He added: “It’s so important for Josh to be in a mega fight after Lara on February 13. He has his heart set on the Ring belt and it’s up to us to make the Can or Russell fights for April or early May.

“I’ve been working hard with Robert Diaz, of Golden Boy, to close Xu Can and also had several conversations with Luis De Cubas regarding a Gary Russell bout.

“Both fights are fight of the year contenders.”

Warrington has been vocal in his unwillingness to face Galahad again.

His previous win over his rival was not an entertaining contest and the Leeds Warrior believes there won’t be many fans who want to see a rematch.

“I don’t want to be giving up my belt but at the same time I don’t want to be going over old ground,” Warrington said.

“I just want to be fighting the best. You can’t be telling me the fans want to be seeing that again, it was an absolute snooze fest.

“I want fans to be on the edge of their sofa, spilling the takeaway all over as they’re watching the boxing and their heart pounding and saying ‘that was a right fight, save that on the planner, don’t delete that, I want to watch that one again’.”