Warrington (29-0, 6KOs) who will be making the third defence of his championship faced off with French challenger Takoucht (35-3-1, 13KOs) at a press conference today.
Here are a selection of quotes from the media event and details of a magnificent undercard featuring some of Britain’s best young boxers.
JOSH WARRINGTON: “I hoped for a unification, but that isn’t mine, my management or Frank Warren’s fault. None of the champions seem to want it. I have to stay active so we’re back in Leeds. Some of my fans had money saved to go and watch me in America and Frank really tried. I am hoping to get through this one and it happens. All I am doing is concentrating on keeping my title, but ultimately my dream is to unify. I just want to win a unified title against one champion and I will then fight anyone until the cows come home. Takoucht has a massive opportunity and he has been given a golden ticket. Takoucht knows he has a massive opportunity in my back yard and it would be ridiculous to think this is a given. I am not there to make a statement, but show that if I step up to any of the other champions I beat them. The fire is in my belly. I want a performance and must beat people like this is style. I would be disappointed if it was a long drawn out points win. I want to get it done quickly. Michael Conlan is making big waves, but I want the other champions then I will fight the likes of him. I’m coming up to ten years as a professional. The support has just grown and grown and inspired young fighters in Leeds. The journey hasn’t finished. I would love the WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz and if Shakur Stevenson wins the WBO title I would line him up and give him 12 rounds of hell, but it’s this fight against Takoucht I’m thinking about.
SEAN O’HAGAN (Warrington’s father and trainer): “Takoucht is a very experienced fighter and the highest ranked fighter available at number four. It is a genuine fight and one where we know we have to raise our game and keep the momentum going until the super fights come. Takoucht is very capable and we are taking him serious. He has plenty of grit, is durable, can box, fight or be evasive. He has a bit of everything and it makes for a good fight. We had a bad night at the office against Galahad and still won. Anthony Joshua had a bad night and got leathered. We always enjoy fighting in Leeds and this time we have an opponent who wants to fight.”
SOFIANE TAKOUCHT: “This is a childhood dream for me since I started boxing at ten years old. Winning this would change everything and I hope it brings me recognition. Josh is a great champion and this is a wonderful opportunity. I will show myself in a good light.”
ALAIN VASTINE (Takoucht’s trainer): “Nothing is given in life so we are coming here to win, nothing else. We have an opportunity and it’s up to us to grab it and we will do everything to get it. Sofiane has courage, determination and a big heart. We know that Josh has the support, but it has been like that before in the Ukraine, but we are coming to win and will win.”
The big world championship fight will be backed up by four title fights that guarantee action and excitement.
Zelfa Barrett (22-1,13KOs) will make the first defence of his Commonwealth super-featherweight crown against exciting Scot Jordan McCorry (18-6-4, 4KOs).
Leeds idol Jack Bateson (10-0, 3KOs) challenges Preston’s Michael Ramabeletsa (17-17, 8KOs) who will be making the first defence of his English super-bantamweight belt.
Manchester’s Lyndon Arthur (15-0, 12KOs) faces Ghanian Emmanuel Anim (14-2-1, 12KOs) for the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title, in a battle of the big hitters.
Darlington’s Troy Williamson (11-0-1, 8KOs) takes a step up in class when he meets Rotherham’s Nav Mansouri (20-2-2, 6KOs) for the vacant WBO Intercontinental super-welterweight belt.
Besides the FIVE title fights, also boxing on the show will be Willy Hutchinson (9-0, 6KOs), Mark Heffron (23-1, 17KOs), Shakiel Thompson (4-0, 3KOs), Shabaz Masoud (5-0, 1KO), John Joyce, 1-0) plus exciting debutants bantamweight Muhammad Ali and York super-welterweight George Davey.
A media event with the undercard boxers will take place in the near future.
Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and firstdirectarena.com Prices: £40, £50, £75, £100, £150, £200, £350 – Inner Ring Hospitality.