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“I never thought I would get knocked down…” Older and wiser former Carl Frampton foe Josh Warrington determined to take Anto Cacace’s world title

“I never thought I would get knocked down…” Older and wiser former Carl Frampton foe Josh Warrington determined to take Anto Cacace’s world title

It’s been six years since Josh Warrington ambushed Carl Frampton in Manchester to retain his IBF featherweight title.

Warrington was the B-side against Frampton, but he pounced on him in the first round with a daring full-blooded attack that took the zip out of the Jackal’s legs and ultimately did enough to win him the fight.

The ‘Leeds Warrior’ was on his way to the top at the time, but six years later he has fallen on hard times and plans to reverse the decline in form and results by capturing the IBF super featherweight title in London on September 21 from his former Frampton colleague Anto Cacace.

Cacace won the title in brilliant fashion in May with a career-best performance to stop reigning champion Joe Cordina in Saudi Arabia. ‘The Andytown Apache’ is expected to successfully defend his title against a fighter who is moving up from featherweight and has won just one of his last five fights (breaking his jaw in a win over Kiko Martinez) and was last knocked out by Leigh Wood.

But to put that poor run into perspective, Warrington has been competing at the highest level of the sport since his 2018 victory over Lee Selby and, as Michael Conlan will tell you, Wood is a heavy-handed boxer who will knock out anyone can hit.

Josh Warrington (right) and Carl Frampton in action during the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena in December
Josh Warrington (right) and Carl Frampton trade in leather in Manchester

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m very grateful to Anthony and his team for wanting to fight me,” said Warrington.

“It’s one where a complete looking Warrington can put itself back on the map. I don’t feel like I’ve been forgotten, but I know that winning this will put me back in a better position, so it’s a great opportunity that we had to grab with both hands.

“From the outside, people might think, ‘Oh Warrington just has a good CV and a good name’ and I’m being used to make Anthony look good. All credit to Anthony, I respect him, but we come to win.”

He agrees that Cacace has taken his long-awaited opportunity brilliantly against Cordina and accepts that some may consider him lucky to be given the opportunity. Warrington has jumped IBF number one contender Eduardo Nunez for the chance to return to the center of the podium and at the age of 33 he must take it.

“I’m a boxing fan, so I watch other fighters,” he said.

“I’ve watched Anthony in the past and I know what he does and the Irish boys are always entertaining, they always fight with their heart on their sleeve and I love that. But of course I’m confident I can beat him – I’m not taking the fight because it’s a pay day or because it’s a big show.

“I did it because I can make history for myself and for British boxing. I’m looking forward to it, I’m coming to win and take the title home.”

Warrington lost his world title to Mauricio Laura in 2021, but won it back from Martinez, only to lose it again in 2022 to Mexican boxer Luis Alberto Lopez. His challenge for Woods’ WBA title last October did not go to plan, but he is looking to become a two-weight world champion by dethroning Belfast’s Cacace.

“Believe me, at one point in my career I thought I would never be let down or get hurt,” Warrington says.

“The lockdown came and I had a period where I wasn’t outside for 15 months. I came back against (Mauricio) Lara and I had to accept that I could be put down. My career has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the past four years. I regained the world title and then lost the defense against Lopez, mentally thinking I wasn’t there that night even though I thought I did enough to win the title (lost by majority decision). I didn’t start the fight well and then Leigh Wood… Up until the seventh round people were saying I was back to a vintage Warrington, I was back at my best and took his head off and then I got caught with a shot… .

“It’s the highest level of the sport, isn’t it? You want to bounce back right away and get back in the ring, but time can pass and all the people remember that this is your last result. All I can do is train hard and show up on the evening of September 21 and show that I still have good nights in me.

“You can’t argue with my CV, no matter what people say. I’m a former world number one, a two-time world champion and this will be my eighth world title fight. I only participate in exciting fights – every fight I participate in is a title of the year contender and Anto and I are going to be one again.”

Feargal McCrory will be at Omagh's INF Hall on Saturday
There was disappointment for Feargal McCrory in Washington last Saturday night

FEARGAL McCrory insists he will “be back” after his challenge for the WBA super-featherweight title ended in an eighth-round defeat in Washington.

Tyrone-born McCrory showed plenty of heart and mind but had to admit he was outclassed on the night and was unable to penetrate against home favorite Lamont Roach, who looked to be one step ahead of him and with both hands showed impressive strength. .

Roach took McCrory down with a left hook in the third round and had him down with two more body punches in the fourth. McCrory had his best period of the match in the next two rounds, but he was hammered in a fierce seventh round and a fierce right hand from “Reaper” Lamont in the eighth round put the fight away when McCrory’s coach Colin Morgan stopped the fight.

“I wanted to win, I believed I could win, I trained to win,” said a dejected McCrory.

“All credit to Lamont, I lost to the better man tonight, he hit me more than I hit him.

“The first was a flash knockdown. The other two were good knockdowns, solid shots, but we bit the bullet and kept going.”

The loss was the first of McCrory’s career and leaves him at 16-1. He rolled the dice and came up short, but he hasn’t given up and plans to work on his skills and bounce back.

“I’m devastated, but I’ll be back,” he said.

“We’re going back to the drawing board – we’ve got a lot of things we need to fix. We dared to be good, we came to the champion’s backyard and we were second best. When this fight was offered to me, we jumped at it. We knew Lamont was a good fighter and they don’t give away world titles.”