Josh Warrington: Sofiane Takoucht bout a risk to unification hopes

Warrington beat Kid Galahad in June
Warrington beat Kid Galahad in June

IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington has vowed to "stay focused" against Sofiane Takoucht on 12 October as he eyes future unification bouts.

Warrington, 28, will defend his world title for the third time when facing the Frenchman, 33, at Leeds Arena.

The Leeds fighter has talked up facing one of the other 126lb champions but will instead face Takoucht, who has 35 wins, three defeats and a draw.

"This is a massive opportunity for him," said undefeated Warrington.

"I have to stay focused and not take my eye off the ball because I am after the biggest fights in the division."

Warrington has 29 wins from 29 outings and enjoyed a stellar 2018, beating Lee Selby to become world champion before turning in a superb display to beat Carl Frampton in December.

A hard-earned win over Kid Galahad in June maintained his momentum and led to talk of a unification bout which could see his large fan base follow him to the US for the first time.

Promoter Frank Warren explained: "We wanted to make the Oscar Valdez unification fight for Josh, but he is giving up the WBO title and moving up in weight.

"I know how much Josh wants the WBA champion, Leo Santa Cruz, but he doesn't seem keen right now."

Takoucht - a southpaw - has never fought for a world title or competed as a professional in Britain but has held the European title at featherweight.

Top Stories