Josh Warrington close to securing unification bout against Can Xu next month

Warrington has not fought since October 2019.

By Press Association Published: 12 January 2021 - 4.28pm
Boxing

Josh Warrington

Josh Warrington is close to securing a unification bout against featherweight foe Can Xu next month.

Warrington has not fought since October 2019, when he stopped Sofiane Takoucht in two rounds in the third defence of his IBF title, but the Briton has been coveting a showdown against the WBA’s ‘regular’ champion for some time.

And with boxing in this country given the green light to resume from the middle of next month, the PA news agency understands a deal is nearing completion for Warrington to face his Chinese rival on Saturday, February 13.

The fight could be officially announced later this week as Warrington looks to realise his aim of adding another world title to his collection by beating a fighter who has won 18 of his 20 professional contests.

Can’s only two defeats came early on in his career, while he is well-known in boxing circles for his high output after throwing 1,562 punches when he outpointed Manny Robles III in his last bout in November 2019.

He has stopped only three opponents, although Warrington will be wary of underestimating his power as the Leeds fighter himself has a relatively low knockout ratio, with only seven of his 30 wins coming inside the distance.

One stumbling block to the fight taking place is the WBA’s apparent reluctance to elevate Can to ‘super’ champion – a status currently held by Leo Santa Cruz, who has not fought in the 126lb division in nearly two years.

Warrington’s team are optimistic any hurdles can be overcome, but it is understood he will be in action whatever the outcome of negotiations given the Yorkshireman’s long absence from the ring.