Josh Warrington Vacates IBF Featherweight Title, Targets Xu Can And Gary Russell Jr. Fights

Thanks to frustrations stemming from the IBF rejecting a proposed fight against Xu Can, Josh Warrington has vacated his featherweight title.

Matchroom Boxing announced that Warrington has vacated the IBF featherweight title, ending his first world title reign which began in 2018. Warrington sought to fight Can, the current WBA “Regular” titleholder. When that fight was rejected, Warrington and Matchroom agreed to vacate the title. Warrington is preparing to fight Mauricio Lara on February 13. That fight will be streamed on DAZN throughout most of the world and will be Warrington’s first since October 2019.

Once that fight against Lara is over, Warrington will re-visit the possible showdown against Can as well as one against WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. Warrington is also targeting the Ring Magazine title as he is ranked No. 1 while Russell and Can are ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively. The Ring Magazine’s featherweight title is currently vacant.

In a press release, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn said he’s been working hard to make those fights possible for Warrington. 

“It’s so important for Josh to be in a mega fight after Lara on February 13. He has his heart set on the Ring belt and it’s up to us to make the Can or Russell fights for April or early May. I’ve been working hard with Robert Diaz of Golden Boy to close Xu Can and also had several conversations with Luis De Cubas regarding a Gary Russell bout – both fights are Fight of the Year contenders,” Hearn said.

As for the status of the title, no immediate decision has been announced. Galahad is currently the highest-ranked contender in the IBF rankings at No. 1. Following Galahad is James Dickens at No. 3 as the No. 2 spot in the IBF rankings is vacant. Mark Magsayo (No. 4) and Andoni Gago (No. 5) round out the rest of the IBF’s top five at featherweight. 

Warrington first won the title when he defeated Lee Selby in 2018 in Leeds, England. Afterwards, Warrington defended the title three times with wins against Carl Frampton, Kid Galahad and Sofiane Takoucht. 

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