Josh Warrington beats Carl Frampton and eyes US unification bouts

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What's next for Josh Warrington?

Josh Warrington hopes to take his IBF world featherweight title to the USA and unify the division in 2019 after an enthralling win over Carl Frampton.

Warrington beat Northern Ireland's Frampton on points in Manchester in a fight promoter Frank Warren called "the best I've ever seen in a British ring".

Asked if he wants to chase the WBC, WBO or WBA belts, the 28-year-old Englishman said: "100%. I don't want steady pay days.

"I want to test myself and keep going."

The Leeds fighter added: "It's the big nights that get me up for it.

"I like it busy. It keeps me going and next year we will go State-side and the journey continues.

"I'd like an away trip. I went there in 2017 to watch Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz and took a little moment to see Carl's fans there on the Las Vegas strip. I was thinking I could see the Leeds fans there so that's what I'd like next."

Josh's journey against the odds

Warrington was praised by the likes of Anthony Crolla and Nicola Adams after his win
Warrington was praised by the likes of Anthony Crolla and Nicola Adams after his win

Warrington will rank high on the list for British fighter of the year having upset the odds to win the world title from Welshman Lee Selby at Leeds' Elland Road in May before again defying bookmakers to beat 31-year-old Frampton - a former two-weight world champion.

Globally, he sits alongside Mexicans Santa Cruz and Oscar Valdez, who hold the WBA and WBO titles respectively, and American Gary Russell Jr, who has the WBC belt.

"He proved today he was top echelon," said promoter Warren. "I think he is the best featherweight in the world. He's young, hungry and he has an engine which is unbelievable. Who can keep up with that?"

Warrington, who is trained by his father, said he may have fractured his hand late in Saturday's contest, which took place in a frenetic atmosphere at Manchester Arena.

He began at a relentless pace and felt he could have possibly stopped his rival in the second round - but he later praised Frampton for being "a tough, tough man".

"My family are on a journey," added Warrington. "I'm pleased for my dad. We are a small team. We don't have a massive reputation but we keep going against the odds and proving people wrong.

"It's for my fans and followers too. They have stuck with me through thick and thin.

"I'm not the fastest, strongest or most intelligent boxer but I go in there and always wear my heart on my sleeve.

"There were times today when I went through an emotional rollercoaster thinking: 'How have I got to this level?'

"When I stepped in this arena there was no way I was getting beaten. It would have taken a lot to stop me tonight."

Analysis

BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello

This has been a highlight of the British boxing year, and what a year we've had - a special night.

Those spectators that booed Warrington into the arena will be cheering him out after a phenomenal performance for a first defence of his title.

Underdog and fighter of 2018 - reaction

Two-time Olympic champion Nicola Adams: "What a fight Warrington and Frampton put on tonight. Josh deserved the win. He didn't stop throwing punches from round one."

Former world champion Anthony Crolla: "Josh Warrington, British fighter of the year 2018. A great fight - congrats to both lads."

British boxing trainer Dave Coldwell: "Massive congratulations to Josh Warrington and his dad for what they've achieved. Beating Selby and Frampton as underdog for both makes him my 2018 fighter of the year."

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