What next for Josh Warrington?

Josh Warrington

Once regarded as one of the greatest featherweight boxers on the planet, former world champion, Josh Warrington is once more racing a career crossroads off the back of his stoppage loss to Leigh Wood back in October in the pair’s WBA featherweight title fight – with calls of both a major step back in competition, or even retirement touted by pundits and fans alike.

Headlining a card in Sheffield against Wood, Warrington dropped his second consecutive defeat – slumping to 31-3-1 as a professional, courtesy of a seventh round blitzing, which followed a prior majority decision loss to Luis Alberto Lopez in their IBF featherweight championship fight in December of last year. He went into the fight as the underdog in the boxing betting but he looked on course for victory before Wood landed a couple of heavy blows.

And with fans clamouring for an update on Warrington’s fighting future ahead of the turn of the year, with many suggesting a third fight with Mexican favorite, Mauricio Lara for the ex-world champion. 

Warrington, a native of Leeds, has yet to make a return to the ring since he dropped a seventh round knockout loss to Nottingham native, Wood earlier this year, however, has called for a championship rematch with the WBA gold holder – as part of a two-fight series between the two. 

Beginning his professional boxing career back in 2009, Warrington has turned in 23 separate decision victories over the course of his gold laden career, and is revered as one of the most technical punchers in the sport today – particularly at the featherweight limit. 

As mentioned previously, Warrington, a former IBF featherweight kingpin, won the title back in 2018 with a judging win over Lee Selby, before landing consecutive successful title defenses against Carl Frampton, and Kid Galahad, as well as Sofiane Takouchi over the next year. 

Rallying to stop Warrington in a come from behind seventh round knockout win in Sheffield earlier this year, Wood, who has since made a weight class leap off the back of his championship success, has welcomed the possibility of a rematch to boot of note – claiming he does not like his countryman.

“I don’t like him (Josh Warrington),” Leigh Wood told BBC. “I’d like to make the win more decisive this time. The build-up last time was respectful but since then he’s been very bitter and it’s been getting a little worse lately.”

“The sense at the minute is the fans seems to want the Warrington fight, so that’s looking very likely,” Wood continued. “He’s been saying the referee shouldn’t have stopped it. He’s put up photos of me on his social media and said a lot of things on the internet trying to goad a fight. He’s mentioned my stablemates, he’s mentioned my trainer. It just felt like he didn’t mind being a good sportsman when he thought he was going to win but since he got beat he’s kind of changed.” 

Previously making his thoughts clear on the nature of his stoppage defeat to Wood, Warrington claimed that seventh round conclusion to their October clash should not be the be all and end all of their rivalry.

“I was on my way to being a three-time world champion and I’m frustrated because of the seventh round,” Josh Warrington said. “I got into my groove and I felt at times that I hurt him. Credit to Leigh, he’s a f*cking tough b*stard and he keeps on coming. Even the times he was hurt, he’d keep on marching forwards. I was thinking to myself, it’s just a matter of time before I get to him.” 

Prior to his two-fight losing skid, Warrington had turned in a first TKO stoppage win since his 2019 title defense against Takouchi, with a seventh round IBF featherweight championship win over Kiko Martinez in the pair’s rematch on home soil at the First Direct Arena – before he dropped the title to the above-mentioned, Lopez. 

Another potential foe and matchup for Warrington could come in the form of a 126 pound clash with 32-year-old Belfast puncher, former WBA interim featherweight champion, Michael Conlan.

Set for an extended stay away from the squared circle amid his recent return to professional boxing, Conlan, an Olympic medalist, began this month with a shocking upset loss to Jordan Gill on home soil in Northern Ireland – himself dropping a seventh round knockout loss. 

Himself urged to weigh-up a potential retirement amid links to a clash with former world champion, Warrington, Conlan’s knockout defeat to Gill came off the back of a fifth round IBF featherweight title charge loss to common-foe, Lopez.

And in his first-ever professional loss, Conlan was stopped in a dramatic WBA featherweight title fight by the previously mentioned, Wood back in March of last year in twelfth round of their championship clash – seeing his sixteen fight run of consecutive professional wins snapped in brutal fashion. 

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