This weekend, Josh Warrington will have hopes of successfully retaining his title in style for the third time against Sofiane Takoucht, in front of thousands of vociferous Leodiensians at the First Direct Arena.

The unheralded albeit unknown Frenchman – a former European champion – has never been stopped in 39 fights, and therefore the undefeated Warrington has the opportunity to send out a statement with the manner in which he wins on Saturday night.

It is imperative for the self-styled ‘Leeds Warrior’ – currently the holder of the longest unbeaten streak in British boxing following Terry Flanagan’s defeat last year to Maurice Hooker – to once again look good against Takoucht if he wants to be taken seriously in presenting himself as the standout champion in a fragmented featherweight division.

Warrington, as an underdog, impressed with dominant displays against Lee Selby and Carl Frampton, and also produced a spirited performance to narrowly outpoint Sheffield’s tricky and slippery switch-hitter Kid Galahad, earlier this year in June.

However, Warrington is well aware that Takoucht, like every contender to his throne, poses a potential risk and naturally comes into the fight determined to capitalise on the opportunity of a lifetime and spring a surprise.

Warrington, a consummate professional who by his own admission still trains with a challenger ‘mentality’ as opposed to that of a champion, will surely have prepared diligently for this contest to ensure that Takoucht does not succeed with his mission to take the IBF belt back across the English Channel.

Indeed, Warrington has repeatedly expressed his wish to become undisputed champion by unifying titles with his counterparts in the division, and has earmarked WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz or WBC titleholder Gary Russell Jr in particular as future opponents to bring over to his beloved Elland Road.

Expect the difference in quality to be evident from the outset, as Warrington’s energy, relentlessness and combination punching secures a stoppage triumph before the midway point, extending his perfect record to 30-0 with seven knockouts.

Article by: Navi Singh

Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________