Josh Warrington upset the odds once again as he retained his IBF featherweight title after getting the better of Carl Frampton in a bruising 12-round battle.
The pair engaged in one of the contenders for fight of the year, but Warrington, an underdog with the bookmakers as he was against Lee Selby in May, largely came out on top in the exchanges at the Manchester Arena.
Warrington was therefore awarded a unanimous decision by two scores of 116-112 and one of 116-113 in the first defence of his world title as he extended his unbeaten professional record to 28-0.
He said to BBC Radio 5 live: “If you had said last year that I would’ve beaten Lee Selby and Carl Frampton back-to-back, people would’ve laughed in your face.
“I think I earned his respect as soon as I hit him but it was always about controlling the pace. I’ve always had self-belief and I’ve had it for a long time.
“I don’t feel pressure now once I get into a building, because I get this massive energy from somewhere. Once I’m in there, I feel I can’t be beaten."
Former two-weight world champion Frampton slipped to 26-2, the Northern Irishman simply overwhelmed by Warrington’s speed and sheer volume of punches throughout.
Leeds-born Warrington is not renowned for his power, with only six of his wins coming inside the distance, but Frampton was stunned at several stages of the contest.
Victory completes a superb year for Warrington, who walked to the ring alongside Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, as he followed up his surprise win over Selby at his beloved Elland Road with another incredible display here to thrill the crowd.
Frampton perhaps shaded the support when the fighters walked to the ring, but it was Warrington’s fans who were singing loudest by the end of the clash.
Frampton said on BT Sport: “He won the fight fair and square. I came here, had trained hard and was sharp but the better man won and I hope he goes on to unify the division.
“It was just not my night, I was fit and strong but Josh was fitter and stronger. I was hurt a number of times.”
Weirdly enough, one of Frampton's tweets from February 2017 is now more meaningful than ever.
The boxer has it pinned to his Twitter account, meaning it always shows up as his top tweet, and it simply reads: "Every setback is a setup for an even greater comeback."
With talk of retirement looming over Frampton's head, he will do well to remember this quote and look to rebuild himself once more.
Surely there's still something left in him?News Now - Sport News