|JOSH WARRINGTON will make the third defence of his IBF world featherweight title against France’s Sofiane Takoucht at First Direct Arena, Leeds on Saturday October 12, live on BT Sport.|
Warrington (29-0, 6 KOs) will be returning to the venue he has lit up throughout his career and where he defeated then mandatory challenger Kid Galahad in June.
The big world title fight will be backed up with a magnificent undercard featuring some of the finest young talent in British boxing – all in title action.
Zelfa Barrett (22-1,13KOs) will make the first defence of his Commonwealth super-featherweight crown against exciting Scot Jordan McCorry (18-6-4, 4KOs).
Leeds idol Jack Bateson, Barrett’s stablemate Lyndon Arthur and Troy Williamson will all challenge for their first professional championships on the bill.
Bateson (10-0, 3KOs) who sold £60,000 worth of ticket when he boxed on the Warrington-Galahad bill challenges Preston’s Michael Ramabeletsa (17-17, 8KOs) who will be making the first defence of his English super-bantamweight belt.
Manchester’s KO King, Arthur (15-0, 12KOs) who is being talked of as a future Anthony Yarde opponent faces Ghanian Emmanuel Anim (14-2-1, 12KOs) for the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title, in a battle of the big hitters.
In the fifth championship clash Darlington’s Williamson (11-0-1, 8KOs) takes a step up in class when he meets Rotherham’s Nav Mansouri (20-2-2, 6KOs) for the vacant WBO Intercontinental super-welterweight belt.
Warrington’s challenger Takoucht (35-3-1, 13 KOs) is a former European champion and ranked fourth in the latest IBF rankings.
Warrington, 28, said: “From what I’ve seen, Takoucht is tough and got his IBF ranking through hard work.
“This is a massive opportunity for him. I have to stay focused and not take my eye off the ball because I am after the biggest fights in the division.”
Promoter Frank Warren explained: “We wanted to make the Oscar Valdez unification fight for Josh, but he is giving up the WBO title and moving up in weight.
“I know how much Josh wants the WBA champion, Leo Santa Cruz but he doesn’t seem keen right now.
“If you look at the IBF Ratings number one and two are vacant, and Takoucht was pretty much the next available contender.”
Warrington won his world title in an upset points win against defending champion Lee Selby in May 2018 when 25,000 fans packed into Elland Road to support him.
Last December he defied the bookies odds again when he thrashed two-weight world champion Carl Frampton on points in his maiden defence. He followed that up with the Galahad victory.
Warrington turned professional in October 2009 and before winning a world championship he captured English, British, Commonwealth, European and WBC International titles.
Takoucht is on a eight fight winning streak and won the IBF International title to earn his place among the world’s top featherweights.
Southpaw Takoucht, 33, said: “When the call came to travel to Leeds and challenge Josh I said, ‘yes’ straight away. It’s a chance to beat the best featherweight in the world.
“He beat Lee Selby when nobody thought he could win and then a great fighter, Carl Frampton. It was close against Kid Galahad, but he found a way to win.
“I am sure he will look at me and think I am easier than his last three opponents, but I won’t let this opportunity go. Get ready for a shock.”
Besides the FIVE title fights, also boxing on the show will be Willy Hutchinson (9-0, 6KOs), Mark Heffron (23-1, 17KOs), Shakiel Thompson (4-0, 3KOs), Shabaz Masoud (5-0, 1KO), John Joyce, 1-0).
Exciting prospects, bantamweight Muhammad Ali and Henry Wharton trained York super-welterweight George Davey make their professional debuts.
Tickets for the October 12 show go on sale from 2pm today (Weds August 7) and are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and Firstdirectarena.com. Prices: £40, £50, £75, £100, £150, £200, £350 – Inner Ring Hospitality.