IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington defends his title for third time against 33-year-old Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday 12 October.
The Leeds Warrior enjoyed a stellar 2018, dethroning Lee Selby to become world champion before outpointing Carl Frampton in a fight-of-the-year contender in December.
He then earned a hard-fought victory over fellow Brit Kid Galahad in the second defence of his world title in June before setting his sights on huge unification bouts in the United States.
However, he was unable to secure a mega-fight with either Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr. or Oscar Valdez and had to settle for unknown Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht in his hometown Leeds instead.
- Josh Warrington v Sofiane Takoucht is exclusively live on BT Sport on Saturday 12 October. Follow this link for broadcast details and live streaming information.
Promotor Frank Warren explained that hope of securing a unification bout with Valdez were dashed when the undefeated Mexican relinquished his belt.
“We wanted to make the Oscar Valdez unification fight for Josh, but he is giving up the WBO title and moving up in weight,” he said.
“If you look at the IBF Ratings number one and two are vacant, and Takoucht was pretty much the next available contender.”
Former European champion Takoucht has never fought for a world title or competed in Britain as a professional, but he has won his last eight bouts in a run stretching back to January 2014.
The number one ranked featherweight in France is fifth in the IBF world rankings after capturing the IBF International belt in 2017 and has never been knocked out in his career.
Southpaw Takoucht has lost three fights though, to compatriot Guillaume Frenois in 2009 and twice to Belgian Alexander Miskirtchian in 2011 and 2014.
Frenois recently challenged IBF world super featherweight title holder Tevin Farmer after earning a split decision draw against Irishman Jono Carroll in Sheffield.
Takoucht also has a draw against Spaniard Ivan Ruiz Morote on his record in June 2013.
He is trained by Alain Vastine, a former fighter and father of the boxer Alexis Vastine who tragically died in a helicopter crash in Argentina.
Speaking after the fight was announced Takoucht said: “When the call came to travel to Leeds and challenge Josh I said yes straight away. It’s a chance to beat the best featherweight in the world.
“He beat Lee Selby when nobody thought he could win and then a great fighter, Carl Frampton. It was close against Kid Galahad, but he found a way to win.
“I am sure he will look at me and think I am easier than his last three opponents, but I won’t let this opportunity go. Get ready for a shock.”
Warrington, the underdog against Selby and Frampton, insisted he won’t take the Frenchman lightly. “From what I’ve seen, Takoucht is tough and got his IBF ranking through hard work,” he said.
“This is a massive opportunity for him. I have to stay focused and not take my eye off the ball because I am after the biggest fights in the division.”
Victory over Takoucht will extend Warrington’s professional record to 30-0 and move him a step closer to securing a dream fight in the United States.
Josh Warrington v Sofiane Takoucht is exclusively live on BT Sport on Saturday 12 October. If you’re not yet a subscriber, we can get you set up in 15 minutes here.