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Warrington salutes Carl Frampton as one of UK's most gifted fighters

World class: Josh Warrington overcame the odds to beat Carl Frampton and retain the IBF World featherweight belt
World class: Josh Warrington overcame the odds to beat Carl Frampton and retain the IBF World featherweight belt
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Victorious Josh Warrington hailed Carl Frampton as an all-time great UK fighter on the back of their extraordinary duel at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

IBF World featherweight champion Warrington and Frampton embraced before and after the final round and the mutual respect that had been shown in the build-up to the pay-per-view clash was in evidence when they returned to their respective dressing rooms.

"Carl has my full respect, he's a tough, tough man," he said.

"I knew I had to be switched on from the start to win.

"He just kept coming and coming.

"I was a fan before and I am a fan now and he will go down as one of the great super-bantam and featherweight champions.

"I told him it was an honour to share the ring with him," said Warrington, who fractured his right hand during the brutal 12 rounds.

"We knew we had to get Carl's respect from the start and I did. I said in the build-up to the fight that I had the power to hurt him and my power needs to be appreciated.

"I have the power to get the respect of any of the world champions and when I got that respect I was able to dictate the fight.

"I thought I had him hurt in the second round but he's tough man.

"I knew he could pull a big punch from anywhere so I was cautious.

"To be honest it was an emotional roller coaster on the day of the fight. I was wondering 'do I belong at this level?' and then I had to tell myself 'don't be daft, you've trained for 12 hard rounds like a demon'.

"Once I stepped into the arena I just knew I wasn't getting beaten, there is something inside me that will not allow me to get beat."

When winning the IBF title against Lee Selby Warrington had entered the ring as the underdog and so it was against Frampton but with these two victories behind him he is now aiming to go on and have further career-defining nights against WBO champion Oscar Valdez and WBA title holder Leo Santa Cruz.

"If you said to someone at the start of the year that I would beat Lee Selby and Carl Frampton in the same year people would have laughed at you," added Warrington.

"I have been doubted from English title level all the way to the very top.

"Now I need to be part of more big fights. I want to fight the other champions.

"I want to test myself against the best.

"I would love to go to Vegas or somewhere in the America. I remember being in Las Vegas for Carl's second fight with Leo Santa Cruz and thinking I could see the Leeds fans here with me.

"Hopefully after tonight I will have won over a few Irish fans as well because they know their boxing."

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