Josh Warrington vs Sofiane Takoucht predictions and betting tips as they meet for the IBF world featherweight championship on Saturday evening and live on BT Sport. Will the Leeds Warrior be able to set himself up for a big unification bout with one of the other champions at the weight or will he be the victim of a big upset?
Josh Warrington (29-0) is undoubtedly one of the best British fighters around at the moment and with plenty believing his lack of finishing power would hinder him at the higher levels, it is testament to his workrate and technical ability that he has managed to earn world honours and retain his undefeated record.
That could have all been so different last time out as the Leeds Warrior faced off against a fellow Brit in Kid Gallahad. A product of the famous Ingle gym, Gallahad has never been one of the most fan friendly to watch, but his tactics of making the contest slow paced and technical almost paid off and although the decision went to the Warrington, many believed he was lucky to escape with the belt that night.
It is not the first time the 28-years-old has taken on fighters at form the UK and Ireland as 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, and he now has his sights set on conquering the USA in a big unification bout.
The man who stands in the way of that is 3-year-old Frenchman Sofiane Takoucht (35-3-1). The former European champion 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, although he has been defeated in his career, he has never been stopped in any of his 39 contests to date.
The most convincing of the southpaw’s three defeats came to compatriot Guillaume Frenois, who recently challenged IBF world super featherweight title holder Tevin Farmer after earning a split decision draw against Irishman Jono Carroll in Sheffield. and two further defeats to Belgian Alexander Miskirtchian in 2011 and 2014 means it has been a long and hard road to get to this point.
Zelfa Barrett vs Jordan McCorry Predictions and Betting Tips
Zelfa Barrett vs Jordan McCorry predictions and betting tips as they meet in the chief support for Josh Warrington vs Sofiane Takoucht and for the Commonwealth Super-Featherweight championship at the First Direct Arena and live on BT Sport. Will the talented champion be able to continue his progression with another impressive performance or will his challenger be able to cause an upset?
Although there is plenty who will not have heard of Zelfa Barrett (22-1), he is a key part of BT Sport and Frank Warren’s fighter stable and he looks set to have a big future in the sport. However, his defeat against Ronnie Clark last year showed that in boxing you can never overlook your opponent as if you do, they will bring you back down to earth with a bang.
The Mancunian makes the first defence of his Commonwealth crown this weekend and he will no doubt want to send a message to the British champion, Sam Bowen, and the WBO European title holder, Archie Sharp.
However, the man hoping to upset the apple cart is Jordan McCorry (18-6-1). The Scot stepped in at short notice and took Bowen nine rounds in March and four months later he pushed Sharp all the way before losing on points after ten exciting rounds, and he will be hoping to go one better this time around.
McCorry has been sparring with Sharp ahead of his big assignment against Barrett and it is a choice of sparring partner which raised a few eyebrows, especially given the growing rivalry between Sharp and Barrett.
It may not be the mega fight that everyone will have hoped for Josh Warrington, but make no mistakes about it, if he is not on his game on Saturday evening then he will be in for a very tough night.
The Frenchman is a good competitor and after boxing for years to get himself in a position to challenge for the world title, it is not something which he will be willing to give up easily.
However, Warrington is undefeated for a reason and truth be told, he should simply outclass his opposition. Providing he does not get sucked in to being complacent, then the raucous home crowd should see their hero retaining his title.
The Leeds Warrior is a big favourite in the contest and the odds on offer means that there is simply no value in backing the outright win. Given that he has only stopped six of his 29 opponents to date and his opposition has never been stopped, we think that backing this one to go the distance is the only way to go.
A series of fights involving Zelfa Barrett, Sam Bowen and Archie Sharp would create big interest over the next 12 months and all three are keen to be the last man standing, and with Jordan McCorry set to face the last of that trio this weekend, those contests will no doubt be used a key yardstick in predicting who will be able to come out on top out of the trio.
Barrett is a talented fighter who has quick hands and a healthy knockout ratio. However, he can sometimes get bogged down in contests which he should dominate and it will be interesting to see if he can prove his class this weekend.
His opponent is tough and durable fighter, but he has been defeated six times in his career to date and given that he has only stopped four people in his 18 wins, it seems unlikely that he will have the power to stop Barrett from piling the pressure on.
We think that this could prove to be a bit of a statement fight and backing Barrett to win by knockout appears to represent the best opportunity for a decent return.