Josh Warrington will give Frampton a rematch if he wins another title
JOSH Warrington had a dream 2018 and if this year is to match it then there is one man he wants - WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz.
Warrington stunned Lee Selby to lift the IBF title and then outpointed Carl Frampton within six months to prove, according to promoter Frank Warren, that he is "the best featherweight in the world". This Saturday night, he aims to turn back the challenge of fellow Yorkshireman Kid Galahad before hopefully backing up Warren's claim in a battle with Santa Cruz.
"Santa Cruz is rated as the best featherweight in the world, he's seen as the No.1 in the division by Ring magazine so he's the guy I want after I deal with Galahad," said Warrington, speaking exclusively to Sunday Life.
"I had a fantastic fight with Carl and I take a lot of confidence from that fight. Carl and Leo shared 24 rounds together and Leo never did to Carl what I did. I believe I can beat Santa Cruz, my confidence has gone through the roof after last year. It's one thing my dad, who's my coach, telling me what I can do and others in my team but then when you do it in fights against Selby and Carl it just backs everything up - it gives you that great belief.
"I had a fantastic fight with Carl in Manchester, he's a fantastic man and I would have a rematch with him as long as he wins another world title. I want to be in unification fights, I want more belts - I want to be a unified champion the way Carl was."
Warrington's plans for more huge nights to match those of Selby and Frampton hit a roadblock when the IBF ruled that he had to face mandatory challenger Galahad, who somehow managed to find himself in the No.1 slot despite victories over very moderate opposition since returning from a drugs ban.
Galahad has cranked up the trash talk, leading Warrington's dad Sean O'Hagan to admit he has told his son to "go and hurt him". But the IBF champion insists he is remaining as cool and focused as ever ahead of their clash in the Leeds Arena.
"Galahad talks a lot of rubbish but it doesn't bother me. They think they're getting under my skin but they're wrong - just like they're wrong about believing they can come to Leeds and steal my title by his spoiling tactics," added Warrington. "He's in for a shock when he feels my power. Everything changes after that."