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Frampton: If you're not from Leeds, you won't support Leeds fan Warrington

 

Josh Warrington, left, will make the first defence of his IBF featherweight title against Carl Frampton (Danny Lawson/PA)
Josh Warrington, left, will make the first defence of his IBF featherweight title against Carl Frampton (Danny Lawson/PA)
Big challenge: Carl Frampton is relishing the prospect of his battle with Josh Warrington

Carl Frampton reckons he will hoover up the neutral boxing fans for his December 22 bout with IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington at the Manchester Arena.

The pair both command big support from their home cities, Frampton packing out Windsor Park for his win over Luke Jackson while Warrington was roared to victory by a partisan Elland Road crowd when deposing Lee Selby from his crown in January.

But Belfast's Frampton claims the neutral venue, where he defeated Scott Quigg in 2016 to retain his IBF crown and win the WBA version, will feel like a home-from-home as he picks up the local support against his Leeds opponent.

"I train in Manchester now as well and I won't say it's going to be like a fight in Belfast, but it will not necessarily be like an away fight and I'm used to the arena," he said.

"The thing is with Leeds in particular, if you're not from Leeds you won't support a Leeds fan.

"So his support will mainly be from Leeds and I can pick up support from obviously back home and around Manchester and other parts of the UK too."

Warrington, 28, is renowned for his ardent following, but tends to agree with Frampton's assertion.

"Yes and no," Warrington said. "Since I beat Lee Selby I've won a lot of fans over. A lot have bought into the way I won.

"Obviously the Leeds fans are massive, but that being said, not many people like Leeds United and I obviously associate myself with Leeds United.

"But I think when I beat him I'll win a lot more fans over. It's not a popularity contest, it's a fight at the end of the day, so it doesn't really matter to me too much."

Two-weight world champion Frampton is determined to leave a similar legacy to that of ex-manager Barry McGuigan and believes victory in the so-called 'Battle of Britain' on December 22 - and a fourth global title - would suffice.

"Of course it would," the 31-year-old said. "I've done pretty well in my career so far. I've won some big titles and unified a division and won a (world) title in a second division.

"But to win back a title - this would mean, if not more than the rest, definitely as much as them. It's going to be a big deal for me."

However, Warrington says he is going out with plenty to prove in his first defence of his world title.

"It feels like that," he added. "I beat Selby and was still ranked number two in the British rankings behind Carl, which is funny because I'm world champion in the division.

"But I feel like I'm just getting started, that win against Lee was just part of more things to come."

Meanwhile, Frank Warren has accused his promotional rival Eddie Hearn of disrespecting boxing fans as the two men prepare to lock horns with rival pay-per-view shows on December 22.

On the same night that Warren has scheduled Warrington's IBF featherweight world title fight with Frampton, Hearn is putting on a heavyweight rematch between domestic favourites Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora.

Warren announced his show long before Hearn's and has branded his rival's decision as "senseless".

"It's stupid," he said. "No one wins, it's impossible for anyone to be a winner out of this.

"I'm using hypothetical numbers: if there are half-a-million fans who want to watch it, 250,000 watch one, 250,000 watch the other."

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