By Charles Brun: Josh Warrington will be making a soft defense of his IBF featherweight strap against #4 IBF contender SoFIAne Takoucht on October 12. The fight will be shown on BT Sport, and it’ll be taking place at the First Direct Arena, in Leeds. This will be the third defense of his International Boxing Federation 126 pound title he won a year ago in beating Lee Selby by a 12 round split decision. Warrington’s two previous defenses of his IBF strap have come against Carl Frampton and Kid Galahad.
Given the quality of those fighters, it partially gives Warrington cover to take an easy defense against Takoucht. Nevertheless, the Boxing public still isn’t happy at seeing Warrington picking low lying fruit from the tree of contenders rather than reaching up high for the more choice fighters that would make for more entertaining fights.
Warrington takes the soft route against Takoucht, fans furious
It’s a less than compelling choice by Warrington’s management by putting him in with the little known 33-year-old Frenchman Takoucht (35-3-1, 13 KOs), because he’s not a household name. His wins have come against woefully bad opposition throughout his career. On social media, Warrington is being trashed by fans, who see him as just another record-padding champion, taking the easy path in trying to extend his time as the IBF belt holder.
Here are some of the main criticisms fans have with Warrington’s choice of Takoucht as his opponent:
- Warrington should have fought Shakur Stevenson
- Who is this guy Takoucht?
- Josh’s failing to set him up with the big fights
- Where’s the unification fight Warrington was banging on about?
- World champions don’t rate easy title defenses against poor opponents
- Where are the big names?
- Puts off Shakur Stevenson because he doesn’t have a world title, then chooses to fight Takoucht, who doesn’t have a belt either
What’s particularly disappointing is the records of Takoucht’s opponents in the last five years since 2014. Just horrendously bad opponents for Takoucht, and now he’s been picked out by Warrington’s management to challenge him. In Warrington’s case, it looks like a race to the bottom with him fighting lesser guys like Takoucht, and not taking any real chances by facing the talented fighters in the featherweight division. These are the kind of fighters that Warrington should be fighting: Gary Russell Jr., Leo Santa Cruz, Joet Gonzalez, Shakur Stevenson, Jessie Magdaleno and Scott Quigg.
Takoucht hasn’t done much to earn title shot against Warrington
The IBF has given Takoucht a #4 ranking with their organization, but he hasn’t beaten anyone of note in the last nine years to earn a title shot. His record is filled with too many weak opponents to pick out one guy and say, ‘Yeah, this fighter was good enough for Takoucht to earn #4 ranking with the IBF to put him into a world title shot.
Here are Takoucht’s last 10 opponents:
- Yesner Talavera (15-8-1, 4)
- Nika Kokashvili (10-22-1, 5 KOs)
- Sergio Prado (14-8-2, 4 KOs)
- Lester Cantillano (4-31, 3 KOs))
- Alexander Cazares (15-10, 6 KOs)
- Elemir Rafael (34-107-4, 9 KOs)
- Janis Puksins (5-32-4, 3 KOs)
- Irakli Jeranashvili (5-13-6, 3 KOs)
- Alexander Miskirtchian (28-5-1, 11 KOs) – Takouch lost by a 12 round majority decision
The above mentioned fighters are all of the opponents that Takoucht has fought in the last five years of his career since 2014. Looking at the grim records of Takoucht’s last nine opponents, it reflects badly on both Warrington AND the IBF’s part.
The IBF arguably shouldn’t have given Takoucht a top 15 ranking at all with the type of opposition he’s been facing. It’s painfully obvious that Takoucht has been fighting shockingly bad opposition. What in the world was the IBF thinking in giving Takoucht a top five ranking based off wins against those guys?
It’s not just the IBF though. Warrington’s management should have taken a glance at Takouch’s record, and ruled him out entirely as an opponent for his next title defense. If it was a must that Warrington defend against one of the IBF’s top 15 contenders, then he should have setup a fight against Michael Conlan, Tugstsogt Nyambayar, Tramaine Williams or Jhack Tepora (23-0, 17 KOs).
Warrington says Takocht earned his ranking
“From what I’ve seen, Takoucht is tough and got his IBF ranking through hard work,” said Warrington in building up his next opponent. “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.”
It’s difficult to take Warrington seriously with him working hard to try and build up his opponent Takoucht. Warrington comes off like he’s Takoucht’s promoter, which is kind of sad. When you see a fighter building up their opponents the way Warrington is doing with Takoucht, that’s a red flag that the fight is a mismatch. In this case, it would be better for Warrington to just stay quiet about the fight, and let his promoter be the one that builds up Takoucht.
There’s no one on Takoucht’s record that you can say helped him earn the #4 spot with the IBF. The aforementioned list of Takoucht’s last nine opponents certainly don’t qualify him to be given a top five ranking with the IBF, do they? Takoucht does have one decent win on his resume in 2010 against Oleg Yefimovych (29-3, 16 KOs). He was a decent fighter before Scott Quigg destroyed him by a sixth round knockout in 2017. Yefimovych hasn’t fought since. Takoucht beat Yefimovych by a 12 round split decision way back in 2010. We don’t really know how good Yefimovych was, because he failed when he stepped it up a level against Quigg, and then promptly disappeared from Boxing.
Warrington’s promoter says they wanted Oscar Valdez
“If you look at the IBF Ratings number one and two are vacant, and Takoucht was pretty much the next available contender,” said Warrington’s promoter Frank Warren. “We wanted to make the Oscar Valdez unification fight for Josh, but he is giving up the WBO title and moving up in weight.”
It’s for the best that Warrington didn’t get a fight against Oscar Valdez, because he would have likely been a step too far for the light hitting Leeds fighter.