British featherweight champion Josh Warrington relinquished his IBF belt. The undefeated fighter made the hard decision to vacate in order to cement his legacy as his mandatory obligations meant he could not make the fights he wanted.
Reports suggested the Yorkshireman would take this step should he not be able to secure the fight he desired. SkySports, and others, have now confirmed the decision from the Englishman.
Warrington will take on Mauricio Lara on February 13; however, he had his sights set on things after that. The ‘Leeds Warrior’ wanted to fight unification bouts after Lara. Unfortunately, the IBF refused to sanction the unification bout. Instead, they ordered him to face his mandatory.
Speaking to SkySports about his decision, he said, “It’s disappointing we couldn’t have the IBF title on the line, but I can’t let those decisions stand in the way of me going down in British boxing history by facing the very best in the division.”
Thus, these comments showed his frustration towards the sanctioning body that forced him to take this decision.
Warrington’s primary reason for vacating the titles was his desire to create a legacy. The fight that the IBF was refusing to sanction was against Xu Can, who is the WBA champion. The tentative date for that fight, which would also include the Ring Magazine Lineal title, was April 24.
His other option is Gary Russell, who is the WBC champion in the division. Furthermore, just like with Xu Can, this fight would also include the Ring Magazine Lineal title. This is a title that is held in high regard among boxing faithful.
Warrington opened up on the Lineal title and said, “I’ve always dreamt about winning the Ring belt, for me it leaves no doubt who the king of the division is. Right now, my mind and focus is on Lara for February 13 and then I’m looking to pick up that beautiful red and blue belt.”
This is yet another example of too many belts spoiling the sport. However, fans will respect Warrington for choosing to vacate to make the big fights happen. He has made his intentions clear, and it’s up to his opponents to do their bit.
What do you make of this decision? Do you think Josh Warrington did the right thing and is he capable of becoming the Lineal champion?