Warrington eyeing America if he can see off Frampton

Singapore boxer Muhammad Ashiq hunting WBC title in Bangkok

Josh Warrington hopes the Carl Frampton bout will lead to mega-fights in the United States like his opponent has previously enjoyed.

IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington has his sights set on huge fights in the United States if he can upset the odds and win Saturday’s showdown with Carl Frampton.

The undefeated Warrington (27-0) will put his title on the line against Frampton (26-1) in Manchester, with the winner expected to land some lucrative unification bouts in 2019 in prime destinations like New York and Las Vegas.

The Leeds-based fighter goes into the match as the underdog despite being the belt-holder but has been plotting his path to the top of the division for some time, including when his opponent was doing battle with Leo Santa Cruz in two epic contests in the US, one of which he witnessed in person.

“I want to be part of these big nights,” Warrington told The Telegraph.

“I was over there in Vegas when Carl boxed Santa Cruz. I stopped to have a look down the Strip and I could see Carl’s fans, billboards for Frampton v Santa Cruz, buses driving past with the fight on them too. I thought, ‘This is where I want to be’.

“That planted the seed, my career went on and now that is the next step, go over there with the Leeds fans and add more memories to my scrapbook.”

Of the Santa Cruz fights, Warrington said: “I was cheering him on, but you start looking at him as an opponent. You watch the fights and go from a spectator or fan to potential opponent, so you start analysing – looking at what he’s doing wrong as opposed to doing right.

“When he lost the rematch [in January 2017], I was making a mental note of things he was doing losing the rounds. You see habits – everyone can make a mistake but when it’s a habit, it’s hard to break, especially when you’ve been boxing so long.

“He’s been on the canvas a few times. He’s been down to a jab. I’ve never been down, you have to take those factors into consideration.

“The last 21 days, the kids have been opening the doors on their advent calendars and I’ve been counting the days down to this fight. I’ve been thinking about it all the time.”

Although he is coming in as favourite, Frampton – who at 31 is three years older than Warrington – feels it is he who has a point to prove due to being underestimated by critics and his opponent.

Despite three straight wins, the Northern Irishman has failed to hit the heights of the preceding pair of Santa Cruz bouts, and claimed this week the Warrington camp reckon he is “over the hill”.

Frampton said: “One of the big motivating factors [is] the amount of people that are writing me off.

“Naysayers, doubters, and people that I would like to stick my fingers up to, and that’s what I want to do by winning this title.”