Aftermath: Warrington vs Frampton / Whyte vs Chisora
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After dramatic nights of boxing in Manchester and London saw Josh Warrington defeat Carl Frampton and Dillian Whyte triumph against Dereck Chisora, Callum Rudge, James Lupton, Chris Williamson, Lee Gormley, Tom Craze, James Oddy, Paul Zanon and Andrew Harrison analyse what next for the four pugilists...
BM: Josh Warrington - British Fighter of the year?
CR: 100 per cent, he’s had two fights where he was the big underdog and has looked sensational in both while winning a world title and beating a man in Carl Frampton who has been at the top for a long time. Warrington gives anyone a hard fight. And what a chin!
JL: He is for me. The Leeds man has been written off for much of his career, now it's time for well-deserved recognition.
CW: It’s been another very strong year for a number of domestic fighters, with Callum Smith, Anthony Joshua, Josh Taylor, Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury all on the 2018 shortlist. None are as deserving as Warrington, however, who has now bullied and beaten two world-class fighters in Selby and Frampton in back-to-back championship fights as an underdog. I love it when a new champion states his intent by demanding a strong first defence and we can no longer doubt that Warrington’s quality and desire are deserving of his sizeable and rabid support.
LG: Warrington definitely sealed his position as British Fighter of the Year with that win. He went into both the Selby and Frampton fights as a big underdog and was widely expected to fall short, but instead produced superb back-to-back performances to come out on top. It's time to recognise just how good he is and his elite status in the division. His style would make for great unifications against any of the other champions as well, if they actually face him now!
TC: In the most recent edition of the Boxing Monthly Mailbox, I argued the case for a top three of Fury, Warrington (or rather, at the time, the Warrington vs Frampton winner), or the Whyte vs Chisora winner. Last night’s results don’t change that, but the impressive manner of the way in which both Warrington and Whyte got the job done only strengthen their case. Warrington making a mockery of his underdog status in both his 2018 contests, though, gives him an edge the other two don’t have.
JO: Certainly. Whyte had a good year, Fury would have had a spectacular year had the judges scored it correctly. But Warrington overcame two fighters billed as elite level when the underdog. It's worth noting that a few years ago people wanted to see Selby vs Frampton, with Warrington seen as no more than a fringe contender. How the tables have turned! My fellow Loiner is such a pleasure to watch. Non-stop pressure, and it's intelligent pressure as well. I'd love to see him fight Oscar Valdez.
PZ: I think Warrington is worthy of the title. He walked the walk after the talk. If he goes to Vegas to unify, they'll need to build a new hotel for the Yorkshire fans.
AH: Yes, Warrington deserves it ahead of Josh Taylor, Dillian Whyte and Charlie Edwards.
BM: Carl Frampton - where now?
CR: A homecoming then retirement. His decline has been gradual but noticeable since the the second Leo Santa Cruz fight. He doesn’t have the energy to compete at the highest level anymore. He has looked hurt in three of his last four fights (Donaire, Garcia and Warrington) and his power hasn’t transferred to 126lbs. Time to go.
JL: Frampton has always said he will know when it’s his time to leave boxing. He is still a big attraction, especially in Ireland, so maybe a Quigg rematch? A long overdue Kid Galahad fight? An all-Irish battle with Mick Conlan? There are still options on the table for Carl and I still think he has another year or two in him.
CW: I don’t recommend immediate decisions in the light of a top-level loss, but featherweight is a tough division and it’s very unlikely Frampton will settle for anything less than world-level competition. He has a good team and close young family and will surely let the dust settle and assess how willing the body and mind are to go again in the new year.
LG: Frampton is still the best fighter to ever come out of Ireland, regardless of this latest setback. It's clear he could still be in very exciting fights but he did outline he only wanted to be involved in the meaningful match-ups. That's perhaps beyond him now unless Frank Warren pulls something out of the bag for next year before 'The Jackal' heads into retirement. One last bout in Belfast before hanging his gloves up for good might be an option but his post-fight reaction and interview signalled what looked to be the end of an illustrious career. Frampton's undoubtedly a legend back home and he's done a lot for the sport there, paving the way for the next generation. On a personal level, he's one of the catalysts for me actually becoming so involved in boxing and he'll certainly have huge support for whatever he chooses to do next. A class act inside and out of the ring.
TC: Frampton should, and I think will, fight on. There are still good fights for him out there, and though he was beaten by the better man last night, he can still clearly compete at world level. 126lbs has a strong title picture right now, and a guy like Frampton will always have plenty of options. Rematches with Quigg - hell, Warrington too - as well as domestic clashes with Galahad or Selby work for me, and there are some fun style match-ups out there against the likes of Jo Jo Diaz.
JO: I'm always hesitant to call for fighters to retire because, even as people in the media and who see a little bit behind the curtain at times, we don't know all the ins and outs of a fighter's camp, a fighter's life. If Frampton felt he was at his best, physically and mentally last night, then perhaps he should walk away. His grit and fighting spirit were superb, but that added touch of class he used to exhibit seemed gone. Ok, Warrington made him work and put him on the back foot, but that intangible something Frampton had in spades in years gone by seemed to have deserted him.
PZ: Frampton is a two-weight world champion. He's mentioned a step up to 130lbs before bowing out. But perhaps that was his swan song. He's already ingrained in boxing history and has a loving family. If he bows out any time soon, he'll always carry massive respect from the boxing aficionados.
AH: Much depends what Frampton still has inside. Sean O’Hagan suggested Carl had lost his way in the build-up to last night’s battle – and I think there’s more than a grain of truth to that. I get the impression Frampton wanted to retire at 30 but wasn’t as financially secure as you’d have expected from a fighter as good as he’s been (and as popular). The move to trainer Jamie Moore just hasn’t worked out and Frampton has lost his edge as a result. Contrast the guy who fought Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz with the fighter we saw this past week – seemingly bemused by Warrington’s candour and confident demeanour. He looked like a man out of time, which is bewildering considering where he was just a couple of years back. If Frampton wants to put the record straight (I think he’s far too good to go out like he did last night but only he knows) then he needs a break, followed by a fresh approach. His court date with former manager Barry McGuigan is set for May. Once that’s concluded, let him come back in Belfast for a final run.
BM: Dillian Whyte - can be give AJ problems?
CR: For me, no. While the knockout was impressive, Whyte has again gone life and death with Chisora, a man with eight losses who - until he found a 'Hail Mary' shot had been battered by Carlos Takam a few months prior. While I have no issue with AJ fighting Whyte, it shows the poor state of the division that Whyte is the 'best of the rest'.
JL: AJ-Whyte 2 finishes the same way as the first fight. I’ve no real interest in seeing it, AJ needs to fight Wilder or Fury.
CW: Whyte can give anyone problems and has proved himself the outstanding heavyweight contender outside of the big three of Joshua, Wilder and Fury with three exciting 02 wins over Browne, Parker and Chisora. I’d fancy Joshua to stop Whyte again but both have progressed from the versions of themselves who served up that raw brawl contested for the British title three years ago.
LG: There's always the chance of an upset, particularly at heavyweight, and Whyte would be hugely confident since progressing from his maiden defeat to Joshua. There's also the fact 'AJ' may be otherwise distracted by Wilder and Fury potentially stealing the spotlight once again while he battles less meaningful opposition, not to mention the subsequent criticism he'll face. I would still expect Joshua to prevail but have some early troubles again.
TC: Dillian Whyte is unlikely to ever be an easy night for anyone, and he’s improved since the first Joshua fight, in which he had his moments. For me, Whyte - who’s had a fantastic 2018 - is firmly, and on merit, no worse than a top 5/6 heavyweight, but Joshua is a different level. I struggle to see how the rematch wouldn’t be another entertaining affair, but it would end with the same man’s hand raised.
JO: Yes, he's a better boxer than he was when they first met. People forget Whyte had a two-year suspension - not only does he have less miles on the clock than you would think but he had to make up for two years of inactivity when he returned. Joshua, meanwhile, has looked a little stale lately (although he's still a supreme fighting machine). I'd like to see them meet again.
PZ: Here's the thing. None of Dill's punches are concussive... apart from the left hook he detonates to the head. It's like it gets released from an insanely wound-up spring loaded catapult. The punch stunned AJ, sparked out Browne, floored Parker (something AJ couldn't do), and turned out Chisora's. Lights. Yes, he'd be a big underdog against AJ, but I think he's fought enough world title eliminators to have the rematch and settle the debate regarding the respective fighters' lines of progression. If not, then the WBC need to do the honourable thing and give him his shot at Wilder.
AH: I don’t think so. Whyte’s improved from when they last fought but so has AJ. I think Joshua takes him to the cleaners again.
BM: Dereck Chisora - time to hang em up?
CR: It has been for a while, he looked done after the second Fury fight and again when he lost comfortably to Agit Kabayel. He revived his career vs Takam and looked in fantastic condition against Whyte but that was a bad knockout and one that could suck the punch resistance right out of him. He’s made good money, and I'm not sure what else is left for him.
JL: I hope Chisora retires however I don’t see it happening. Not one fight after signing with David Haye. Possibly he could finally face Joe Joyce. But maybe a Takam rematch first?
CW: Chisora remains marketable and provided Whyte with another stern, uncomfortable fight. Despite the shocking knockout Dereck will likely remain a sturdy, difficult operator should he choose to continue. With the likes of Dubois, Joyce and Gorman on the way up domestically, Chisora has a number of options for further big matches should he want them.
LG: Chisora is at the stage of his career that he can still be involved in exciting, entertaining fights on big shows. But that's a dangerous position to be in at his age and in light of such a heavy knockout loss. Money will always be the attraction here but after the payday from headlining a PPV main event, and such a long career, retirement should really be considered.
TC: Similar to my assessment of Frampton above, I think Chisora’s still got plenty to give. This was obviously a heavy defeat, but assuming it hasn’t taken too much out of him, he should continue. Given how much he’s improved in terms of his conditioning, dedication, and the fact he was coming into last night off a career-best win with a KO-of-the-Year contender against a very good heavyweight in Takam, I found the criticism that he was a shot fighter at best a little odd, and at worse wilfully derisive. Let’s not forget, he was winning the fight on two cards (and it would’ve been much wider but for some overly-involved refereeing) and boxing well in another absolute war. I’d really like to see Chisora or Whyte against Jarrell Miller because I think it’d look a lot like what we just saw, but a Takam rematch, that long-discussed Joyce fight, or even Parker also work for me.
JO: I'd say yes, but with the caveat I mentioned for Frampton. Del Boy is an enigmatic character, a born fighter - I think until his last breath he'd be dangerous in some capacity. Whether that capacity is European or world level any more as a prizefighter, I'm highly doubtful. I'm not sure if British level would really motivate someone who has been in with the best of the best.
PZ: When he lost four out of five fights during 2011/12 and then got stopped by Fury in 2014, I would have said, it's time to hang up the tools. However, last night Chisora looked brilliant. Forget about world titles - look at the entertainment factor he brings. A rematch with Takam awaits and perhaps a few domestic dust-ups with some of the up and coming prospects.
AH: What would Chisora do if he didn’t box? Though it’s tough to see where he goes from here, I think 'Del Boy' still needs boxing.