MOST fighters, when they have a pay-per-view to push, tend to ramp up some personal animosity. However Carl Frampton and Josh Warrington, who will fight for the latter’s IBF featherweight title on December 22 in Manchester, aren’t following that pattern. Good humour characterised their appearance at a press conference in London on Tuesday, one stop on a media tour that will take them on to Leeds and Belfast. Both feel the calibre of the fight is more than enough to sell it.
“People lose their lives in the ring, or have career-changing injuries. The fight should be enough. We live in a day and age where people love dramas and episodes; McGregor and his one-liners. But that’s not me. I’m not going to try and force being a knobhead just to sell a show; it’ll sell itself. We’re having it out to see who’s the best, and that’s it,” Warrington said to reporters afterwards.
“I’ve been boxing since seven and sparred many, many rounds. You get to a stage when you can’t be arsed with all of that. You’ve got a 12-week camp and you’re going to fight then – all of the bitching and bitterness, unless it’s personal, like me and Lee [Selby], you go in there and shake hands.”
He won his world title in the crowning achievement of his career when he beat Lee Selby last time out. “Selby slagged my fans, my team, myself. People said, ‘Josh is acting differently; I’ve lost a lot of respect and I’m not a fan anymore.’ I didn’t give a f***, because they don’t realise how upset and annoyed I was. This time it’d be different – this time I would be bothered. It’s not in my nature; I’m respectable and have time for everyone. I could go on for years and years and be undisputed champion, but the people around me would keep me grounded,” Warrington said.
The new champion might have been expected to take a far easier world title defence. Frampton is a former two-weight world titlist and will go into this contest as the favourite. But Warrington explained, “Frank [Warren, their promoter] had talked about having something easier and then going in with Carl in December, and we said no. I didn’t feel like I needed to get a mandatory in before Carl; it’s not the fight so much that can take it out of you, it’s the build-up to the fights, the hours and hours in the gym, the sparring sessions, the circuits, miles of running, it breaks down your body. Even if you blast someone out in three rounds you still need to recover; not just physically, but mentally. I’d not have seen my kids all year and it’d have taken a toll on my body by the time Christmas comes, so we decided on the Carl fight. It’s not the best of dates [just before Christmas], but what can you do?”
Frampton has no intention of letting Warrington ruin his Christmas. “I believe I will win it convincingly. I have beaten a number of opponents better than Josh Warrington. It would be a bad Christmas if I lost but I have a life outside of boxing. I have two kids and a wife and I will enjoy Christmas no matter what – but it will be better as world champion,” he said.
Frampton is recapturing his best form. Winning another world title is one step in his masterplan. “I am not thinking about retirement, I am enjoying boxing so will keep going. It would be nice to go out on top because not many people get it right,” he said. “It would be good to go out on a big win rather than someone who is chasing a win. Look at how Ricky Hatton ended or Roy Jones.
“A good year would be Warrington and then Leo Santa Cruz. Beating Warrington would not be a big enough win for me to retire on. I would like to do Windsor Park again in the summer. We will see.”
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