Josh Warrington beats Sofiane Takoucht to defend IBF title

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Josh Warrington and Sofiane Takoucht
Takoucht had never been beaten inside the distance in 39 previous fights

Britain's Josh Warrington defended his IBF world featherweight title for the third time with an emphatic second-round win over Sofiane Takoucht.

Warrington, 28, knocked the Frenchman down twice before the referee stopped the contest after another flurry.

His victory thrilled a boisterous crowd in his hometown of Leeds and served as a reminder of his power as he targets a world title unification bout in 2020.

Warrington has now won all 30 of his fights, with this a seventh knockout.

'In 2020 we are coming for you all'

A relatively humble knockout rate before the visit of Takoucht led many to question whether Warrington carried big power, and after his win he shouted down the camera: "People say I can't punch."

He was expected to win but, in becoming the first man to stop 33-year-old Takoucht, Warrington was vicious and accurate.

With Takoucht vulnerable after a second knockdown, a series of hooks sent his head left and right, leaving referee Bob Williams with no choice but to end the bout with seconds of the round remaining.

"The fans deserved it. I took my frustration in not getting a unification bout out on him," Warrington told BT Sport.

Warrington has made no secret of his anger at not getting his dream bout in the US against one of the division's other world champions after a 2018 in which he won a world title against Lee Selby before defending it brilliantly against Carl Frampton.

This instead was a 10th outing at his city's major arena in a career which started out at leisure centres and small hotels in 2009.

But with every win he moves closer to a United States debut, and after the fight he raised the names of WBC champion Gary Russell Jr and China's Can Xu, who could secure the WBA title with victory over Manny Robles III in November.

"I have made it very clear I am open to any of them," said Warrington.

"Gary Russell Jr is kicking about. Shakur Stevenson could be fighting for the WBO title. If Xu Can wants the fight here I am. I am leaving my options open.

"Everyone has their passports at the ready. In 2020 we are coming for you all."

On the undercard, Zelfa Barrett defended his Commonwealth super-featherweight championship with a ninth-round stoppage of fellow Briton Jordan McCorry.

Lyndon Arthur, Barrett's cousin, claimed the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight belt courtesy of a hard-earned unanimous points win over Ghana's Emmanuel Anim.

Takoucht had never been beaten inside the distance in a 39-fight career
Warrington floored Takoucht twice in round two before the contest was stopped

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