On October 12, IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington makes his third title defense when he takes on Sofiane Takoucht (35-3-1, 13 KOs) at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England and ‘The Leeds Warrior’ spoke to DAZN News to discuss his upcoming bout against the 33-year-old French southpaw.
Warrington will not be overlooking Takoucht on Saturday night and is aware of the dangers he faces against the former IBF International titleholder.
“Sofiane can go home a hero by beating me and I can’t let that happen," Warrington told DAZN news. "World champions can get complacent, but we are on a mission.
"My mentality isn’t that this is an instant win. Winning is the most important thing, but I want to send a message and win in style. It doesn’t matter who is in the opposite corner because they can change your life. If he upsets the applecart on Saturday then that’s it, it’s a long climb back up. You’ve got to keep on winning otherwise you lose and go all the way down."
Warrington made reference to a former world champion who had a long road back to the top and was thwarted when they met in the ring last December.
"It happened to Carl Frampton, he lost to Santa Cruz in their rematch, you would have thought the third fight would have come along but he didn’t fight again for a world title for another two years against me," he continued. "Nothing is ever given in boxing. The best chance you have to get the best fights is to keep on winning and that’s been my motivation from the start.”
Warrington might be slightly frustrated about having to make yet another hometown title defense. After his victory over Kid Galahad in June, Warrington expected to branch out to America in search of more glory. However, with the likes of WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz and former WBO champion Oscar Valdez moving up to super featherweight and Gary Russell Jr.'s peculiar insistence on only fighting once a year, there aren't many big fights available for the IBF champ.
“If the Russell fight can be made, then happy days.” said Warrington, “The two other champions have gone up in weight, Valdez was ranked number one in Ring Magazine’s rankings and I was number two so if I’d of beaten him I would become numero uno and have another shiny belt too. But he’s vacated and moved up. I can’t fight for those belts now because I’m not ranked by those organizations. Shakur Stevenson is in line to fight for the WBO. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the WBA and if they promote Can Xu to super champion (but) he’s the only one with a belt at the moment and he’s hungry for a fight. I’m hungry for a fight so it makes sense to face him.”
But with the disappointment of being unable to unify comes a desire to put on an exciting performance. And that is something Warrington is used to doing.
The 28-year-old is used to proving people wrong and did so when he won the IBF title against Lee Selby and made a successful title defense against Frampton in a fight that could have warranted "Fight of the Year" accolades. But now boxing is bigger than just what he does in the ring, as he has to turn his attention to becoming a father.
“When I turned pro, I wanted to fight until I was 35 or 36 years old.” Said Warrington, “I wanted to try and climb the ladder as high as I could but (becoming a father) has changed everything."
What becoming a father has changed is Warrington's timeline in this sport. His patience is wearing thin and the IBF champion wants the big fights now before it's time to bid the sweet science farewell.
"This sport takes a lot from you, it takes a lot of sacrifice and time. I’ve been doing this for twenty-one years and you don’t want to be just chasing the fights, chasing extra paydays or another glory night. You have to know when your time is up. I look at other fighters from Leeds and Yorkshire who have had one fight too many and that’s when it becomes dangerous and suffering lifelong effects from being punched in the head for a long time. I think I want to go for another three to four years at the highest level and then consider whether it’s time to walk away and quit.”