ALTHOUGH Josh Warrington would be quick to stress he’s not overlooking Kid Galahad (Barry Awad), his next challenger, the IBF featherweight champion certainly has bigger and better fights mapped out in his future.
One of them could see Warrington go up against WBA ruler Leo Santa Cruz, a Mexican with whom he shares a mutual opponent (Carl Frampton) and similar style (aggressive, all-action, exciting), in what, as it stands, would represent a meeting of the two best nine-stone boxers on the planet.
“That is the goal I have set myself and it just comes with the territory,” Warrington said. “When I used to have the goal of being a world champion, Lee Selby was the one I targeted and, when I fought Dennis Ceylan in the final eliminator, I couldn’t look past that fight. But subconsciously I knew that he was there after.
“This is the same. I am at the stage now where I have won a world title and did it against the very best in the division in this country. Now I have got to fight my mandatory. You want to fight the other champions, though, to be the best in the division in the world.
“I am ranked number two by The Ring magazine and Santa Cruz is number one. I’ll tell you what, I’d love one of those Ring magazine belts. That is the goal now and it is all building blocks.
“Beating Barry will bring me closer to unifying the division and getting one of those belts.”
Warrington fights Galahad on June 15 at the FD Arena in Leeds, his come city, and it’s expected to be an ill-tempered and frantic affair between old amateur rivals.
Warrington, always looking to get on the front foot and stay there, has been riled by Galahad’s disrespect and some transgressions in his past (notably, a failed performance-enhancing drug test), and seems eager to make him pay.
Galahad, meanwhile, an underrated box-puncher whose stunted progress and relative anonymity can be attributed to past mistakes, believes he has the perfect style to capitalise on Warrington’s gung-ho approach to fights.
On June 15, we shall find out.
According to The Blast and Pitchfork, Daniel Franco, a former USBA featherweight champion forced into retirement following a near-fatal brain injury, is suing JAY-Z, Live Nation, and Roc Nation Sports for negligence, seeking unspecified damages.
The lawsuit claims that Franco asked Roc Nation Sports, his promoter, to postpone a scheduled fight on March 23, 2017 after he had been sick with the flu for three weeks and unable to adequately train during this period. He was, however, according to the lawsuit, told by Roc Nation Sports representatives he “must go forward with the fight” and warned that he if decided to withdraw from the scheduled fight he would have difficult securing future ones.
Franco’s fight against Jose Haro on June 10, 2018, was his third fight in as many months and ended in an eight-round stoppage loss. Knocked out, with the count waived, Franco suffered a brain haemorrhage, which left him in a coma, had a piece of his skull removed, and is now required to wear a helmet to protect the left side of his head.
According to the lawsuit, it was later discovered he suffered two skull fractures and a separate brain bleed from one of the two other fights during this three-month period of unusually high activity. “Had an MRI or other brain imaging been performed, the fractures and haemorrhage would have been discovered prior to the June 10, 2017 fight, necessitating a cancellation,” the lawsuit claims.