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Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton on BT Sport Box Office: December date set for festive featherweight firecracker

BT Sport can reveal that the fighters and promoter Frank Warren have agreed a prime-time pre-Christmas date for the huge IBF world title showdown at Manchester Arena.

Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton for the IBF featherweight world title is officially set for Saturday, December 22nd and will be shown exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office.

The Manchester Arena will play host to a mouth-watering festive firecracker as Frampton aims to secure a fourth world title in the Englishman’s maiden defence of the belt.

Warrington vs Frampton will be the third huge pay-per-view world title card to air on BT Sport in just four months after September's historic Canelo vs GGG 2 showdown and the upcoming mega-fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.

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Details of pricing and when the Warrington vs Frampton buy window opens will be announced on BTSport.com and at bt.com/sportboxoffice closer to the time.

Warrington, boasting an unblemished record after 27 career bouts, made history on BT Sport in May as he became the first ever Leeds fighter to win a world title.

His split-decision triumph over Lee Selby at a pumped-up Elland Road fulfilled a lifelong dream.

Yet rather than taking time away to bask in the glory, the 27-year-old quickly signalled his intention to be a fighting champion by signing up to the greatest test of his career.

"The Frampton fight really appeals to me and it will be another big scalp for me," said the IBF featherweight champion.

"I went over to Windsor Park to watch Carl fight a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have gone over there if I wasn’t interested in the fight. There was easier routes I could have taken like having a voluntary. Frampton and Selby in the same year would be a massive achievement.

"It's about keeping the momentum going and I just believe I can beat Carl. I am just as confident in beating Carl as I was beating Lee [Selby]. These are fights that the British public want to see, I’m a world champion and when you are world champion you want to fight the best and Carl is a name who is up there."

Frampton may be the challenger in name, but he boasts by far the superior resume as a two-weight world champion who is widely regarded as one of the most naturally gifted boxers of his generation.

‘The Jackal’ has reigned at both super-bantamweight (2014-16) and featherweight (2016-17), mixing it with world-class opponents such as Leo Santa Cruz, Kiko Martinez and Scott Quigg.

Since suffering his sole defeat in 27 career fights – against Santa Cruz in their rematch in January 2017 – he has seen off Horacio Garcia, the decorated Nonito Donaire and Luke Jackson with the minimum of fuss.

The nature of his wins against the latter two, in particular, suggests Frampton is edging ever closer to recapturing his highest level.

"I’ve done a lot more in my career than I thought I would have when I turned professional. I’m very proud of my career but I believe I still have more to give and want to keep going as long as I can. I will add my fourth world title and go on and unify again," said Frampton.

"You’re going to see two hungry guys in their prime, Warrington has just won this world title and isn’t going to give it up easily. I know what it’s like to be a world champion and I want that feeling back again, I think there is going to be fireworks in this fight."

He out-worked and out-manoeuvred former four-weight world champion Donaire at Belfast's SSE Arena in April before realising a dream of his own last time out by headlining at Windsor Park.

On an emotional August evening on BT Sport, Frampton retained his WBO interim crown as he crumpled Jackson with a brutal body shot, capping a display that had oozed class from the first bell.

Frampton, crucially, has started to rediscover the dazzling hand speed and combinations that can sometimes take the breath away when he is on song.

That could all spell bad news for Warrington, whose most notable scalp prior to upsetting Selby was a comparatively older and less dangerous Martinez.

Yet as ever when the stakes are so high, there remains the intriguing possibility that Warrington’s fitness and relentless work-rate could unsettle his rival.

The Northern Irishman, it should be said, undoubtedly has a solid chin.

But for all his inherent class, he would probably admit himself that he has never been the most difficult opponent to hit.

While not a renowned KO artist, Warrington is a refreshingly old-school, up-and-at-them operator.

He will throw more than enough punches to ensure Frampton’s technique and engine are both given a full examination.

The man known as ‘The Warrior’ will aim to drag the 31-year-old into the trenches and hope his relative youth and sheer intensity prove decisive on the judges' scorecards in the championship rounds.

Whoever’s hand is ultimately raised in victory, one thing is for sure: a raucous affair awaits as both fighters enjoy the backing of sizable and vociferous fanbases.

Expect them to travel to the Manchester Arena in huge numbers and create what Frampton expects to be a "fantastic and possibly a bit hostile" atmosphere on what already looks set to be an unmissable night of action on BT Sport Box Office.

Who will be Christmas number one?

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