Greatest wins: Five fights that defined Josh Warrington as featherweight's king

From Japan's Hishashi Amagasa, to Sheffield's Kid Galahad. Here is our extensive breakdown of the five best fights of Josh Warrington's career so far...

Josh Warrington has made three world title defences since ripping the world title away from Welshman Lee Selby at Elland Road - the soccer ground to his beloved Leeds United.

Linked to a unification with heavy-handed Xu Can, Warrington is one of the most marketable fighters in the UK and in 2020, he re-joined Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing stable. A throwback fighter, Warrington's attitude of fighting the best is rather refreshing. Especially when compared to someone like Gary Russell Jr., who like Michael Buble, shows his face once a year.

While the future looks bright for the "Leeds Warrior", the past hasn't been too bad either. Boxing365 looks at his five most memorable fights as we eagerly await his next fight night.

1) Hishashi Amagasa

In April 2016, Warrington fought Amagasa for the WBC International featherweight title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. At this point, Warrington was approaching world level with talks of a showdown with Selby to follow.

This fight was a potential banana skin for Warrington. His Japanese opponent had already challenged for the world super-bantamweight title and was a seasoned pro with 20 of his 30 bouts ending inside the distance.

Warrington, who was five years his junior, would win the fight comfortably via unanimous decision. The judges scored it 117-111, 118-111 and 120-107 in Warrington's favour. Speaking recently on his official Facebook page, Warrington reflected on this tough fight:

"I always think this was a coming of age fight against the tough Japanese fighter Hishashi Amagasa.

"Standing just short of 5'11 at 9st (126lbs), he had reach and a very unorthodox style. He had almost as many KOs (20) as I'd had fights (22 at the time) and was ranked in all the world governing bodies top 3.

"A fight where a change of tactics was needed halfway through and all though I kicked myself after for not putting the foot on the gas in the home stretch, I am pleased of what that fight taught me and how it made me learn for world level..."

Amagasa lands a right-hook on Warrington in their WBC International featherweight title bout
Amagasa lands a right-hook on Warrington in their WBC International featherweight title bout

2) Kiko Martinez

In December 2016, it was announced that Warrington and Matchroom Boxing had parted ways. The featherweight would link up with their direct rivals in Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions before the end of the year.

Warrington's first fight under Warren's umbrella was against Kiko Martinez in May 2017, once again at the First Direct Arena. This was the latest in a long line of difficult tests for Josh before his world title shot. Martinez was a former IBF junior featherweight world champion, having held the title between 2013 and 2014.

Martinez had already lost twice to Carl Frampton, but this was still a risky fight for Warrington to take given his position in the featherweight ranks. Warrington was originally due to face Marco McCullough on this date but talks fell through when McCullough refused to sign a contract offered by Warrington's team.

The fight proved to be a tough battle between the two elite-level fighters. The bout went the distance and Warrington was favoured on the cards via majority decision. One judge scored it 114-114, but the other two agreed on 116-112 for the hometown man, pushing him further towards his long-awaited world title opportunity…

3) Lee Selby

Warrington finally got his shot at a world title against Selby in May 2018. The huge night for the Leeds boxer was made even bigger when it was announced it would take place at Leeds United's Elland Road Stadium in front of 25,000 fans.

This was Selby's fifth defence of his IBF world featherweight title and at the time, he was Britain's longest-reigning champion. Warrington received as expected, an electric reception on the night as rock-pop band the Kaiser Chiefs performed during his entrance.

Like front-man Ricky Wilson, Warrington came out the blocks with intent, asserting his dominance in the bout from the opening bell. In the second, blood spilled from Selby's eye which furthered the momentum of the challenger's world title quest.

'The Leeds Warrior' came out firing from the off, asserting his dominance in the bout. Warrington's hopes were boosted further as the Welshman suffered a deep cut to his left eye in the second round.

Warrington open to Shakur Stevenson bout

One judge controversially called it 115-113 for Selby, but the others had it 116-112 and 115-113 for Warrington to crown him as the new IBF world champion. Speaking in the ring after the fight, Warrington was overjoyed at his victory:

"I really can't put it into words. I've worked hard over the last 18 weeks. I got into this ring tonight with the expectation of this city on my shoulders. I'm overcome with emotion.

"We worked on game plans but that all went out of the window and it was sheer grit and determination and this crowd got me through."

If he had not got the decision, pints would have been pelted into the direction of the judges scoring the fight at ringside.

Warrington celebrates after defeating Lee Selby to become world champion
Warrington celebrates after defeating Lee Selby to become world champion

4) Carl Frampton

Warrington's fights did not get any easier after winning his world title, however, with "The Jackal" his next opponent. By this point, the Irishman was proven at world level, having previously won world titles at two divisions. The only blemish on Frampton's record came in January 2017, in a rematch against Leo Santa Cruz - his last fight with trainer Shane McGuigan.

The bout, which was staged in Manchester, proved to be an instant classic and was a Fight of the Year contender on the same night British boxing witnessed a classic between Derek Chisora and Dillian Whyte.

Despite Frampton being the favourite with punters and the bookmakers, Warrington shocked the Irish star by rocking him several times in the opening couple of rounds. Frampton recovered well but was unable to snare the title away from Warrington, who was given the verdict via unanimous decision.

The result was a wake-up call to those who doubted Warrington's ability to mix it in with the best at world level.

IBF world champion Warrington hits Frampton with vicious right-hand
IBF world champion Warrington hits Frampton with vicious right-hand

5) Kid Galahad

Title defences for Warrington did not get easier for the Leeds-man. An all-Yorkshire clash against Sheffield's Kid Galahad was next at the First Direct Arena in June 2019.

Galahad, trained by Dominic Ingle, was undefeated going into the contest at 26-0 with title triumphs at British and Commonwealth. Heated exchanges from both camps set up the fight as an eagerly anticipated battle.

Compared to his previous two fights, it was an underwhelming display from Warrington, who was stopped from producing the usual aggressive performance punters were used to. Galahad slowed Warrington down, often jabbing and grabbing the champion in a bid to frustrate him and his fan base in the arena.

Warrington vs Galahad went the distance, and it was tough to separate champion and challenger on the cards. Howard Foster called it 115-113 in the Sheffield fighter's favour but Warrington's blushes were saved as the other two judges scored it 116-112 and 116-113 to the champion, meaning he retained his belt via split decision.

Speaking with talkSPORT after the fight, Warrington said: "Listen, it wasn't the most entertaining of fights and I think my last two fights against Carl Frampton and Lee Selby, they were Fight of the Year contenders and everybody expected this fight to follow suit. It wasn't meant to be. Sometimes styles clash and it was one of them where I've got the win and I'm moving forward."

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