It was frankly expected to be an easy night of work for Josh Warrington, and the hometown fighter made it so at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England, stopping overmatched challenger Sofiane Takoucht in the second round to retain the IBF featherweight title once again.
Warrington (30-0, 7 KO) isn’t known as a big puncher, but he was well beyond Takoucht (35-4-1, 13 KO) in this one, and dropped him twice in the second round. They weren’t big, thunderous knockdowns, this was about levels. Warrington was way too good for Takoucht, who bless him, did try to fight back with everything he had, but Warrington just kept catching him with shots.
After about three shots rocked Takoucht’s head around, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight with Takoucht on his feet. The official time was 2:54 of the second round.
The 28-year-old Warrington won this belt in May 2018, upsetting Lee Selby at Elland Road in Leeds, and defended successfully against Carl Frampton in Dec. 2018 and Kid Galahad in June of this year.
This fight with Takoucht was booked as something of a lighter touch, keeping Warrington busy and also not breaking his back with a crazy schedule of tough matchups. It may well have been something bigger, except the other recent titleholders at 126 — Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr, and Oscar Valdez — haven’t exactly been taking real challenges lately. Santa Cruz and Valdez, in fact, have vacated their belts to move up in weight.
That leaves Warrington as arguably the top featherweight in boxing right now, but also with a potential lack of quality opponents coming. Galahad may get another shot if he wins an IBF-ordered eliminator. Russell, the WBC titleholder, can’t be counted on to face Warrington no matter where the fight might in theory take place. Xu Can, now the only WBA titleholder at the weight, will face Manny Robles III on Nov. 23, and he’s been mentioned as a possible unification foe, which Warrington says he’s up for, even if it means traveling.