Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton gift Manchester Arena one of the fights of the year
What a war!
They clearly call him 'The Leeds Warrior' for a reason as Josh Warrington came out on top in one of the fights of the year on Saturday night.
Warrington successfully defended his IBF featherweight title by leaving it all in the ring against Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena.
With Christmas around the corner, it felt like Santa had come early given the entertainment value in the ring and both Warrington and Frampton can leave with their heads held high after the bout, which the Englishman won via unanimous decision.
A frantic opening four rounds forced both men to bite down on their gumshields as technique went out the window at points when the bout threatened to descend into a slugfest.
Fans of both fighters played their roles as they buoyed their man when needed with deafening chants that had the Manchester Arena rocking following an undercard chock-full of decisions.
WOW!! 💥 @J_Warrington & @RealCFrampton are standing in the middle of the ring throwing the kitchen sink at eachother!!
What a fight so far!🔥 #WarringtonFrampton pic.twitter.com/4NKoVDlV5y
— Frank Warren (@FrankWarren) December 22, 2018
Just when it looked like Frampton and Warrington had finally taken a breath in the fifth frame, they closed out the three minutes with another tireless exchange.
The halfway point arrived with neither man willing to give an inch but Warrington finished the sixth better as he coated the ringside photographers with a cascade of Frampton sweat after a solid combination whipped his head back.
The tenacity carried into the second half of the fight, with the eighth requiring them to dig deep and force their best poker face in the wake of some crunching body shots from both sides.
With the finish line in sight, Warrington pulled ahead and landed the cleaner punches, testing Frampton's chin and will.
How they stayed standing beggars belief and despite some bad blood in the build-up, they shared an embrace before and after the final round to walk away as true gentlemen the sport.
The judges scored the fight 116-113, 116-112 and 116-112 in favour of Warrington and Frampton offered no excuses, congratulating the better man and revealing plans to sit down with his team in the new year to figure out his next move.