Warrington v Frampton, Whyte v Chisora: UK boxing set for hectic festive night

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Warrington fights Frampton at Manchester Arena, while Chisora and Whyte meet at London's O2 Arena
Warrington fights Frampton at Manchester Arena, while Chisora and Whyte meet at London's O2 Arena
How to follow the big fights on 22 December
Warrington v Frampton: BBC Radio 5 live commentary, BBC Radio Ulster commentary and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website from 20:00 GMT
Whyte v Chisora: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website from 20:00 GMT

Two main events in two UK arenas on the same Saturday night.

As BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello put it: "What a weekend of boxing to finish a great British boxing year."

Englishman Josh Warrington says he will upset bookmakers' odds and defend his IBF featherweight title against Northern Ireland's Carl Frampton - live on BBC Radio 5 live from Manchester Arena.

About 220 miles south at London's O2 Arena, English heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora meet with the latter saying he's "surprised we are still boxing" after their brutal first contest in 2016.

Here's your guide to both bouts, which are also controversially competing for pay-per-view buys.

A title and bright US lights up for grabs

Frampton's only loss came in a rematch with Mexico's Leo Santa Cruz
Frampton's only loss came in a rematch with Mexico's Leo Santa Cruz

Warrington is undefeated in 27 outings but has got used to being written off.

His world-title win over Lee Selby in May - at the home of his beloved Leeds United - has, he says, fuelled a determination to keep an honour he has grafted for since turning professional in 2009.

"I remember five years ago when my partner bought me tickets to watch Carl Froch v George Groves in Manchester Arena," the 28-year-old told BBC Sport.

"I remember looking around thinking 'I want to be part of these nights' and now it's happening.

"I love the journey we are on and I don't want these nights to end. I have worked hard for a world title and I'm not just going to give it up like that."

Warrington will be joined by Leeds United captain Liam Cooper on his ring walk in Manchester.

Both he and Frampton say a victory would catapult them to contests with any of the other three world champions at 126lb, with the bright lights of United States arenas likely venues.

Frampton has tasted big US nights before having held two world titles at super-bantamweight. He lost a world title at featherweight in January of 2017 in what is his only defeat to date, which he believes led some to write him off.

Warrington weighed in at 8st 13lb 9oz, with challenger Frampton registering 8st 13lb 14oz on Friday.

"I have so much more to give," Frampton, 31, told BBC Sport. "The doubters are a big inspiration for me.

"I want to win this title and go on to unify my second division. I still have dreams and aspirations to become Ireland's greatest fighter. Beating guys like Warrington and unifying a division will put me in good line to do that."

"I can outfight him, outbox him and win this fight in many different ways. I intend to do a number, not just beat him but to beat him convincingly."

'There is no way this can not be a good fight' - analysis

Showbiz ringwalks & undefeated - get to know world champion Josh Warrington

BBC Sport boxing commentator Mike Costello

This is a fantastic contest. The featherweight scene has Oscar Valdez, the WBO title holder, Leo Santa Cruz, the WBA, and Gary Russell Jr in possession of the WBC. It's a fantastic set-up and there are so many possibilities there with four good champions.

BBC Radio 5 live boxing analyst Steve Bunce

I'm sure Warrington is not getting the credit deserved for his career to date. His world title was put down to Selby underestimating him, or the cuts Selby suffered.

If you look at Warrington's record a little bit harder, I would argue that going on about five years, he has a whole run of really decent opponents.

There is no way this can not be a good fight.

Camp changes fuel UK dust-up

Whyte's only loss came against Anthony Joshua in 2015
Whyte's only loss came against Anthony Joshua in 2015

Eddie Hearn's move to put Whyte's rematch with Chisora on the same night was described as a "sabotage" move by rival promoter Frank Warren, who is behind the Warrington-Frampton show.

But the thrilling nature of their 2016 contest, won by Whyte on a split decision, created demand for a rematch.

Whyte has won four times since and appears close to a shot at WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, who inflicted his only professional defeat in 2015.

Just five ounces separated the two at Friday's weigh-in, with Whyte registering 17st 8lb 8oz and Chisora 17st 8lb 3oz.

Hearn has admitted that Whyte - who starts favourite - has more to lose, adding: "An injury, a bad cut, a loss, all those things can ruin the Joshua fight."

Whyte, 30, told BBC Sport: "Losing to Anthony Joshua in 2015, the setback made me be honest with myself, take myself away, prepare myself and say 'what you're doing is not good enough'.

"Defeat turned me into a professional athlete, I was just a rugged street kid.

"I believe I have improved a lot and come on a lot since the first fight with Dereck and I don't believe he has."

Whyte has made a habit of branding Chisora "a donkey", based on his view the 34-year-old has been used and poorly handled by promoters during his 11-year professional career.

Chisora, who was born in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK in his teens, has now moved to work under the management of former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye.

"David Haye has moved me out from my house so I live right next door to the gym," Chisora told BBC Sport.

"He has everything planned out and sends me a message saying 'this is your training schedule'. Then the trainers are there waiting.

"It's like I have a tag on me. If I leave my room he's asking 'where you are going?' Which is good for me.

"I was not fit in the first fight. For this I will be fit, ready and I am excited. I'm surprised we are still boxing after the first fight. This will be the same but I will be getting hit less."

A historic scrap repeated - analysis

Dillian Whyte: From 'ghetto kid' to heavyweight star

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Steve Bunce

Anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for Chisora and Whyte. When Whyte was suspended for a while by the British Boxing Board of Control and came back I went to see his fights.

On consecutive Fridays he fought for nothing at the Camden Centre, I was there both times and he didn't get a penny.

Chisora has been in with about 10 good heavyweights around the world and never gives less than 100%.

I like both of these and it will be a similar fight to the one a couple of years ago, a great British heavyweight scrap.

BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello

Chisora really revived his career with a remarkable stoppage of Carlos Takam in July but Whyte is the favourite to repeat his win of last time around, which was one of the best British heavyweight fights in history.

There has been talk of the winner going on to face Joshua at Wembley on 13 April.

All the signs point to a very special end to the British boxing year.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC