Josh Warrington cruises past Sofiane Takoucht in title defence

The Briton extended his record to 30-0.

By Press Association Published: 12 October 2019 - 11.50pm

Leeds United

Boxing Carl Frampton

Josh Warrington cruised to a dominant second-round knockout victory in his IBF world featherweight title defence against France’s Sofiane Takoucht in Leeds.

Warrington was determined to make amends for his scrappy split-decision victory over Kid Galahad in June and was expected to struggle against the veteran southpaw, who came into the fight with 35 wins from his 39 bouts.

But the Leeds fighter shone from the the opening bell in front of his home crowd at the First Direct Arena and showed why he is one of the leading boxers at the nine-stone division after extending his perfect record to 30-0.

Warrington set his sights on becoming Leeds’s first unified world champion after his comfortable knockout victory and is ready to travel anywhere around the globe to fulfil his dream.

Speaking to BT Sport, Warrington said: “I’ve made history at Elland Road – Leeds’s first world champion. It would be nice to be Leeds’s first unified world champion at Elland Road and after that, we will go travelling all over the world. We will go on tour.

“I’ve made it very clear. My first defence was Carl Frampton, my second fight was the mandatory challenger. I’m open to any of them. I’m leaving my options open and anyone who wants it, I’m here.

“I’ve got to face the best in the business, not just in the country but the world. And I know these lot (the fans) will go wherever I want. Everyone has the passports at the ready.

“So I can say just a massive thank you to the fans. Be ready, 2020, I’m coming for you all.”

In the fight, Takoucht’s awkward style saw Warrington initially struggle for his range before the defending champion pinned his French challenger against the ropes with a fine four-shot combination.

Josh Warrington sent out a daunting message to his challenger after his IBF world featherweight title defence
Josh Warrington, left, sent out a daunting message to his challenger after his IBF world featherweight title defence (Richard Sellers/PA)

Warrington then landed a flush right hand just before the bell rang at the end of the first round and it was one-way traffic thereafter.

Warrington increased the intensity as he swamped all over Takoucht, with the 33-year-old struggling to keep the Yorkshireman at bay.

A left to the head and right to the body saw Takoucht hit the canvas for the first time before Warrington fired another barrage of hooks to send his challenger crashing down again with over a minute to go in the second round.

Takoucht was scrambling to hold off another onslaught as Warrington sensed blood but the referee stepped in and waved off the contest to the eruption of the Leeds crowd.

First Direct Arena Boxing
Josh Warrington celebrates defeating Sofiane Takoucht (Richard Sellers/PA)

Warrington admitted his scrappy fight against Galahad last time was a “wake-up call” and he had to be fierce against his French challenger after missing out on a unification fight.

“There was nothing personal between myself and Takoucht but I think I took my frustration on not getting the unification shot and it was a nice day at the office,” he said.

“It just shows that everything we have been working on has worked. The last fight gave us all a wake-up call. We have worked against southpaws in the last few weeks and I’m glad it paid off.

“I think I took my frustration on not getting the unification shot and it was a nice day at the office”
- Josh Warrington

“The fans are fantastic. Always turn out in their numbers, support me through thick and thin and I can only repay them with a top performance.”

Warrington listed Oscar Valdez and Leo Santa Cruz as possible next opponents, despite their intentions to move up to super featherweight.

China’s Can Xu, who holds the WBA ‘regular’ world featherweight strap, is the most likely candidate for Warrington, while he also hinted at unifying against WBC champion Gary Russell Jr or taking on fellow American Shakur Stevenson, who is fighting Joet Gonzalez for the WBO belt later this month.