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Carl Frampton beaten by Josh Warrington in epic 12-round world title fight at Manchester Arena - as it happened

'That is the best world title fight I've ever seen,' says Frank Warren

Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Carl Frampton has lost out in his bid to dethrone IBF World Featherweight champion Josh Warrington at the Manchester Arena.

The Belfast boxer emptied the tank in a fight that will live long in the memory between two men at the top of the sport.

Warrington began with a breathtaking flurry in each of the opening two rounds and, while Frampton fought bravely to work his way back into the fight, the Leeds boxer was not to be beaten. It was the current champ who looked stronger as the evening wore on and while Frampton looked tired in the closing rounds, Warrington, three years his junior, kept producing.

An energy-sapping bout went the full 12-round distance but Warrington held his IBF World Featherweight belt by unanimous decision, two judges scoring 116-112 and a third 116-113.

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Josh Warrington celebrates winning the World Featherweight Championship against Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire

"I didn't underestimate him but he's even better than I thought. He has it all," declared a gracious Frampton, who said he would consider whether or not to retire from the sport.

When the pace of the fight slowed at the start of the middle round, Frampton was able to pick smart punches and threaten to reel his leading opponent in. But when Warrington unleashed his swift flurries, there was to be no sufficient response.

Warrington seemed the fresher of the two as the fight entered the final rounds - and his fans were the more vocal as a deafening chant of 'Marching on Together' rang around the venue midway through the 11th.

Warrington closed the 11th with several furious one-twos and the fighters embraced before the start of the final round, the respect for each other palpable.

An accidental head clash in the final round gave Frampton a sizeable bump on his forehead and he was the more marked up at the end of the 12 rounds, leaving little doubt to who was the winner at the final bell.

Promoter Frank Warren was left waxing lyrical about the level of boxing on show in his headline fight, that was running up against Eddie Hearn's Dillian Whyte v Dereck Chisora card (that fight won by Whyte in an 11th round KO).

Carl Frampton was beaten by Josh Warrington.
Carl Frampton was beaten by Josh Warrington.
Josh Warrington celebrates winning the World Featherweight Championship against Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (right) and Carl Frampton embrace after the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton embrace after the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Josh Warrington punches Carl Frampton during the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Josh Warrington (left) and Carl Frampton in action.
Josh Warrington (right) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (right) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (left) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (left) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (left) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (left) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (right) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (left) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Christine Frampton, wife of Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Christine Frampton, wife of Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Josh Warrington (left) and Carl Frampton in action in the World Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Carl Frampton punches Josh Warrington during the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Josh Warrington punches Carl Frampton during the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Josh Warrington punches Carl Frampton during the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Josh Warrington punches Carl Frampton during the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Josh Warrington punches Carl Frampton during the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Josh Warrington punches Carl Frampton during the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Carl Frampton makes his way to the ring prior to the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Josh Warrington makes his way to the ring prior to the IBF World Featherweight Championship title fight between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena on December 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Michael Conlan wins the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan wins the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan wins the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (right) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (right) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (right) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Michael Conlan (left) and Jason Cunningham compete in the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

"That is the best fight I have ever seen in a British ring, the best world title fight I have ever seen," he said. "Those are two ultimate warriors at the top of their game. You'll remember in years to come and you'll say 'I was there'. That was something special that those two guys delivered."

On the undercard, Michael Conlan won the WBO Inter-Continental Featherweight title when he overcame Doncaster's Jason Cunningham on points. While his opponent wasn't without joy in an open fight, Conlan was stronger throughout and deservedly secured his first professional title as he extended his unbeaten run to a perfect ten.

ConlanFightMore002.jpg
Michael Conlan wins the WBC Intercontinental Featherweight Championship at Manchester Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 22, 2018. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Paddy Barnes' scheduled fight against Isaac Quaye did not go ahead. It had been included in the bill as a floating bout but with many fights going the distance, it did not run.

Here are all of our live updates from a thrilling evening at the Manchester Arena:

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