Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton are ready to put on a Christmas cracker when the pair clash for Warrington’s IBF featherweight title in the Manchester Arena on December 22.
The city will be buzzing with shoppers eager to pick up gifts on the last Saturday before Christmas; sizeable herds of boxing nuts from Leeds and Belfast will also now join them. Fans choosing to stay at home will have the option to purchase the event on the BT Sports Box Office platform which broadcast its first paid offering on Saturday when Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez clashed in Las Vegas for middleweight supremacy.
Running a show so close to Christmas could be construed as a risky business for the Manchester showdown, but reports suggest that promoter Frank Warren’s big domestic rival Eddie Hearn is also keen on the same date for a London show involving Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora.
Christmas cards are in fact nothing new. Boxing promoters in Belgium have been known to run on Christmas Day, while Belfast’s King’s Hall hosted the British featherweight title fight between Martin Lindsay and John Simpson on December 15 in 2010. I was there that night and, despite the freezing temperatures, a sizeable crowd found their way to the iconic venue. The action inside the ring was red hot before Simpson pulled the upset and hometown hero Lindsay saw his title reign drift away like the snowflakes outside.
Lindsay’s fellow Belfastman, Carl Frampton, will be hoping to pull a similar stroke on Warrington and snare the Leeds man’s IBF title.
“You’re going to see two hungry guys in their prime, Warrington has just won this world title and isn’t going to give it up easily,” stated Carl, who is fully aware of the size of his task.
Warrington commented: “These are fights that the British public wants to see, I’m a world champion and when you are world champion you want to fight the best and Carl is a name who is up there.”