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Josh Warrington faces French fighter Sofiane Takoucht in third title defence live on BT Sport

The hometown hero returns to the First Direct Arena as he defends his IBF world featherweight title against Sofiane Takoucht (35-3-1).

Josh Warrington will make the third defence of his IBF world featherweight title against France’s Sofiane Takoucht in his hometown Leeds on October 12 in a bout broadcast exclusively live on BT Sport.

Warrington (29-0, 6 KOs) returns to the First Direct Arena, a venue he has lit up repeatedly and where he defeated then-mandatory challenger Kid Galahad in June.

The 28-year-old beat Lee Selby to claim the IBF belt in May 2018 before successful defences against Carl Frampton and Galahad.

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The upcoming world title fight is also supported by a deep undercard that features some of the finest young talent in British boxing - all in title action.

Zelfa Barrett (22-1,13KOs) will make the first defence of his Commonwealth super-featherweight crown against exciting Scot Jordan McCorry.

Leeds native Jack Bateson, Barrett’s stablemate Lyndon Arthur and Troy Williamson will all challenge for their first professional championships on the bill.

Bateson (10-0, 3KOs) challenges Preston’s Michael Ramabeletsa (17-17, 8KOs) and Manchester’s KO King, Arthur (15-0, 12KOs) who is being talked of as a future Anthony Yarde opponent faces Ghanian Emmanuel Anim for the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title.

In the fifth championship clash Darlington’s Williamson (11-0-1, 8KOs) takes a step up in class when he meets Rotherham’s Nav Mansouri (20-2-2, 6KOs) for the vacant WBO Intercontinental super-welterweight belt.

Takoucht (35-3-1, 13 KOs) is a former European champion and ranked fourth in the latest IBF rankings.

Warrington said: “From what I’ve seen, Takoucht is tough and got his IBF ranking through hard work. 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.”

Promoter Frank Warren explained: “We wanted to make the Oscar Valdez unification fight for Josh, but he is giving up the WBO title and moving up in weight.

“I know how much Josh wants the WBA champion, Leo Santa Cruz but he doesn’t seem keen right now. If you look at the IBF Ratings number one and two are vacant, and Takoucht was pretty much the next available contender.”

Last December he upset the odds again when he thrashed two-weight world champion Carl Frampton on points in his maiden defence. He followed that up with the Galahad victory.

Warrington turned professional in October 2009 and before winning a world championship he captured English, British, Commonwealth, European and WBC International titles.

Takoucht is on a eight fight winning streak and won the IBF International title to earn his place among the world’s top featherweights.

Southpaw Takoucht, 33, 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.”

Besides the FIVE title fights, also boxing on the show will be Willy Hutchinson (9-0, 6KOs), Mark Heffron (23-1, 17KOs), Shakiel Thompson (4-0, 3KOs), Shabaz Masoud (5-0, 1KO), John Joyce, 1-0).

Exciting prospects, bantamweight Muhammad Ali and Henry Wharton trained York super-welterweight George Davey make their professional debuts.

Full broadcast details of the bout will be available nearer the time. If you're not yet a subscriber to BT Sport we can get you signed up here in just 15 minutes.

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