Boxing

Carl Frampton and Josh Warrington rumble confirmed for December 22 in Manchester

Carl Frampton and Josh Warrington will meet in the ring for real in Manchester on December 22
Andy Watters

CARL Frampton will face IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington in Manchester on December 22.

The fight has yet to be officially confirmed, but The Irish News has learned that terms have been agreed for ‘The Jackal’ to face his Leeds rival at the MEN Arena, the scene of his WBA and IBF super-bantamweight unification title victory over Scott Quigg back in February 2016.

Since that win, in front of an estimated 10,000 travelling fans, Frampton moved up to featherweight and became only the second Irish fighter (Steve Collins was the first) to become a two-weight world champion when he out-pointed Mexican titlist Leo Santa Cruz in New York.

The Tiger’s Bay native lost a Las Vegas rematch to Santa Cruz in January last year and acrimoniously split with handlers Cyclone Promotion last summer before linking up with Manchester-based former Irish super-welterweight champion Jamie Moore.

Moore has breathed life back into his career and, after an understandably rusty win over Horacio Garcia last November, Frampton regained all the ground he lost with impressive wins over Nonito Donaire and, last month, Australian hopeful Luke Jackson.

His stoppage win in that Windsor Park fight earned Frampton the interim WBO World Featherweight title and it was his first since 2015 and was excellent preparation for what should be a much tougher test against Warrington.

The Leeds native (27-0) has improved steadily over the past two years but he went into his IBF title scrap against Lee Selby as the underdog despite fighting on home soil at Elland Road.

Selby looked weight-drained and sluggish on the night but even at his best he might have struggled to cope with Warrington’s pressure and aggression from the opening bell.

Warrington took the win on split decision and he was at ringside at Windsor Park last month (he was also in the crowd for Frampton-Santa Cruz II in Las Vegas) to watch Frampton beat Jackson.

Afterwards he confirmed his ambition to see off Frampton, saying: “I beat Selby and I’m still ranked behind Carl. I’d like to be number one for Christmas. I’ve got a lot of respect for this man but you want to fight the best.”

Frampton countered: “Josh is a world champion. I would love to be a world champion again.”

The stage is set for him to regain his crown in a winner-takes-all rumble on December 22.

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