Josh Warrington’s third defense of the IBF featherweight title is set, and all things being fair, it’s a bit of a step back.
The 28-year-old Warrington (29-0, 6 KO) will face 33-year-old Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht (35-3-1, 13 KO) in Leeds, headlining a card that will air on ESPN+ in the US.
Warrington must have looked at his fellow 126-pound titleholders and wondered why he was facing decent competition, so now he’ll face Takoucht, a southpaw ranked No. 116 in the world by BoxRec.
Takoucht has won eight straight, and picked up a minor IBF belt in 2017 with a victory over Alexander Cazares. He last lost in 2014 to Alexander Miskirtchian. Miskirtchian also beat Takoucht in 20111, and Guillaume Frenois beat him back in 2009.
For all the world, Takoucht looks like a European-level fighter at best, but with Leo Santa Cruz facing Rafael Rivera and Oscar Valdez facing Carmine Tommasone and Jason Sanchez, plus Gary Russell’s “run,” Warrington is already ahead of the game so he’s kinda owed one of these.
On the undercard, super featherweight Zelfa Barrett (22-1, 13 KO) will defend the Commonwealth title against Jordan McCorry (18-6-1, 4 KO), a scrapper who has lost three of four and two fights this year to Archie Sharp and British champ Sam Bowen. Light heavyweights Lyndon Arthur (15-0, 12 KO) and Emmanuel Anim (14-2-1, 12 KO) will fight for the vacant Commonwealth title at 175; super bantamweight prospect Jack Bateson (10-0, 3 KO) will face veteran Michael Ramabeletsa (17-17, 8 KO); and junior middleweight Troy Williamson (11-0-1, 8 KO) will take on Navid Mansouri (20-2-2, 6 KO).