Lee Selby versus Josh Warrington on the cards and winner could face Carl Frampton
CARL Frampton will be keeping a close eye on the winner of the Lee Selby-Josh Warrington rumble which looks like a goer for March after Selby successfully defended his IBF world featherweight title against Eduardo Ramirez at the Copper Box in London on Saturday night.
The Welshman secured a unanimous points victory over Ramirez, although his belt was not on the line after the Mexican failed to make the weight.
The 30-year-old, who lost his mother just days before he defended his title against Jonathan Victor Barros in July - a fight which had been postponed after the Argentine failed a blood test - appeared keen to put on a good show.
Ramirez may have arrived in England eight pounds over the featherweight limit, but he, too, was up for the fight, and the southpaw provided a nagging test throughout the 12 rounds.
Leeds native Warrington is Selby's mandatory challenger after beating Dennis Ceylan in October, and Selby believes the fight would be good for British boxing. The winner could go forward to face Frampton in a summer blockbuster at Windsor Park.
"First of all it's a massive fight," he said.
"He has earned the mandatory position so to get there he has to be a good fighter.
"We've sort of exchanged words in the past but a fight between Josh and I would be massive and fantastic for British boxing."
On Ramirez, Selby added: "I thought it was a decent performance against a very game Mexican fighter who was unbeaten, came from a great stable.
"They knew me inside out, they knew what to expect and they sent him in with the best game plan possible."
Warrington also insisted he was keen to fight Selby in 2018.
"First of all before we start talking about contracts, it's nice to be talked about a decent fighter rather than just average,” he said.
"He's done what he's had to do. I'm not bothered if I have to go to Cardiff... it's no big deal to me and a lot of Leeds will travel with me but if we can get a big stadium fight at Elland Road that will be massive."
Ramirez may have arrived eight pounds overweight, but he was up for the fight, and the southpaw provided a nagging test throughout the 12 rounds.
The judges scored the contest 118-110, 119-109, 116-112 in Selby's favour as the Welshman successfully defended his title for a fourth time.
Meanwhile, British heavyweight Daniel Dubois continued the impressive start to his professional career after he secured a crushing victory against Dorian Darch.
The 20-year-old Londoner scored his six consecutive win after seeing off the Welshman, 33, with a second-round stoppage after flooring his opponent on three occasions.
JAMES DeGale says he needs to go back to the drawing board after a shock defeat to Caleb Truax saw him lose his IBF super-middleweight world title.
The 31-year-old was making the fourth defence of his title but the home crowd at London's Copper Box were left disappointed following a bruising majority decision defeat for the former Olympic champion.
One judge scored the fight as a draw at 114-114, but further scores of 115-112 and 116-112 in favour of the American challenger condemned DeGale to only the second defeat of his career.
A crestfallen DeGale said afterwards: "I've boxed at a high level for two-and-a-half years and I've got to go back to the drawing board, I've got to sort certain things out and change things.
"I thought I'd won it but I'll have to look back.
"I'm going to have to go back now and sort out certain things."
DeGale underwent surgery on his right shoulder following his controversial draw with Badou Jack in January but after a steady start he was rattled in the fifth round when Truax unleashed a number of fierce shots which left blood pouring from his nose.
Asked whether his shoulder problems had contributed to the outcome, DeGale added: "There's no pain there, I've probably rushed back to be honest... maybe I should have waited till next year.
"I'm really gutted, I'm so upset.
"I want the rematch, that's what I want."
One of DeGale's British super-middleweight rivals, Chris Eubank jnr, was quick to have his say on Twitter, writing: "After all the trash talk & disrespectful comments jamesdegale1 you go & put on a display like that!! All I can say is WOW!!! You have properly let down British Boxing £Shameful"
The 34-year-old Truax was thrilled to have pulled off his gameplan.
"I want to thank everyone for the opportunity," he said.
"We noticed that he didn't pressure that much, he's a helluva boxer, a classy boxer, I couldn't box because he's a better boxer than me but I had to make it into a dogfight and that's what I did."
2017 was the busiest year on record for professional boxing bills in the North and, with Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan expected to headline major summer shows, next year could be even more action-packed.
The first bill of 2018 is the MHD Promotions ‘Assassin's Creed' card at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Saturday, February 3 which is headlined by Lisburn scrapper James ‘The Assassin' Tennyson.
Hammer-handed Tennyson is now ranked at number four in the world by the World Boxing Association as their International super-featherweight champion having won and defended the title in 2017.
Those two stoppage victories included an impressive sixth round knockout over the talented Declan Geraghty at the Waterfront Hall in March when he won his second Irish super-featherweight title which rounded up a fantastic 2017 for the 24-year-old.
Stablemate Joe Fitzpatrick is coming off an impressive stoppage win on the undercard of Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zahakiyanov's bantamweight unification title fight in October against England-based Zambian hardman Mweyna Chisenga.
The former amateur standout has been crying out for bigger tests having racked up eight straight victories as a professional since the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he came away with a sliver medal. The 23-year-old has had his wish granted when he makes the step up in class and takes on the current British Boxing Board of Control's Scottish Lightweight champion Marek Laskowski ) (9-8-2) at the Europa Hotel event.
Poland-born Laskowski is based in Aberdeen where he has done all his professional boxing and belies his professional record having contested the majority of his contests in the away corner.
“This is the step up Joe has been torturing me for,” said MHD's Mark Dunlop.
“It's an early Christmas present and at the minute it is scheduled for eight rounds. I'm trying to make it for a title fight, possibly the BBBofC Celtic Lightweight title and Laskowski is eligible as their Scottish champion.”
Fitzpatrick added: “I know I will need to be at my best to beat Marek.
“He has already completed four 10-round contests and is very experienced and strong having only been stopped once in 19 contests, It's a proper fight and I'm more than ready.”
The exciting line up is completed by the Coalisland's Feargal McCrory, Newtownards native Stevie Quinn jnr, Lucas Ballingall of Portsmouth and the return of Belfast's Daniel ‘Insane' McShane.
Tickets are on sale now: £35 (unreserved), £45 (reserved ringside), £75 (VIP Including four-course meal). Tel: 07712 473905, email: email@example.com