Warrington keen to add to belt collection after clinical title defence

By John Skilbeck 13 October 2019
Warrington keen to add to belt collection after clinical title defence

Josh Warrington overwhelmed French challenger Sofiane Takoucht with a second-round stoppage win in Leeds, and the IBF featherweight champion vowed he is ready for all-comers.

Warrington was on top from the early moments of the fight at Leeds Arena on Saturday, thrilling his noisy home crowd with a strong start before bringing out his biggest punches.

He sent Takoucht to the canvas twice in round two before a flurry of shots left the Frenchman in deep trouble, forcing the referee to step in and bring the contest to an early conclusion.

The 30th win of Warrington's career was another demonstration of the unbeaten Englishman's prowess, and now he is targeting another belt, which could mean he fights China's Can Xu in 2020, possibly at Elland Road.

WBO champion Oscar Valdez is moving up a division, so can be crossed off the list of potential opponents, and WBA super champion Leo Santa Cruz is going the same way.

Assessing his options, Warrington mentioned Valdez and Santa Cruz but said: "They've moved on. [WBC champion] Gary Russell Jr is kicking about. There's Can Xu, who's the WBA regular champion; he might get promoted to super champion. Shakur Stevenson's going to be fighting for WBO, so I'm leaving my options open and if anyone wants it, I'm here."

Asked about Can, Warrington said: "He's a fantastic champion. Gary Russell Jr only comes out once a year, but if Can Xu wants a fight, here I am."

Warrington insisted it would not be a problem to venture overseas, despite Leeds Arena becoming a regular venue for his big fights.

"Everyone's got their passports at the ready," Warrington told BT Sport.

But home comforts could again appeal to the 28-year-old Yorkshireman, who beat Lee Selby to land his current belt at Leeds United's Elland Road stadium last year.

"We made history at Elland Road, Leeds' first ever world champion," Warrington said. "It'd be nice to be Leeds' first unified world champion at Elland Road, then after that we'll go travelling all over, we'll go on tour."

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