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Josh Warrington is preparing to face Carl Frampton 'at his prime' but has predicted that he may force the Belfast boxer into retirement after their IBF featherweight bout on Saturday.
Warrington defeated Lee Selby to claim the IBF featherweight title in the summer and he will make the first defence of his crown against the former two-weight world champion at the Manchester Evening News Arena on Saturday evening, live on BT Sport Box Office.
Although the Leeds native believes Frampton is no longer the boxer he was, he has not altered his training and is preparing to face his opponent at his best.
“I have been preparing for Carl at his prime and that excites me to graft my backside off," Warrington told his final press conference.
“I’m not going into this fight thinking he’s done – I’d be a fool. My mentality has been this is the best Carl Frampton turning up.”
Despite holding the belt, Warrington feels he has been underestimated and believes Frampton may call it a day if he loses on Saturday.
“The only thing he can do [if he loses] is move up to super featherweight and maybe have maybe a big fight with James Tennyson. That’s the only potential fight he could have, a big Belfast one," he explained.
“If he loses to me after downplaying some of my wins it will be embarrassing. He can turn round and say ‘Josh is a good fighter, he deserves this, he’s a world champion and it’s no disgrace’ but I think it will be his pipe and slippers moment.
“Let’s have it right, he did that documentary ‘Return of The Jackal’ and there were about five minutes where he was talking about retirement. He’s mentioned it many times.
“You retire because you had a £10 million fight or you don’t want to get punched in the head anymore, but you should want to create a legacy – which he says he wants to do. When you’re on the top of your game you shouldn’t be thinking of that.”
“It will be there subconsciously when it comes to the later rounds. Okay, he’s had a good camp but when your arms are full of lactic acid and you’ve gone past the physical state, you’re looking for any little thing to push you on. He won’t have that anymore.
Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton meet for the IBF Featherweight belt at the Manchester Evening News Arena on Saturday, 22 December live on BT Sport Box Office. To subscribe visit www.eirsport.ie/ppv
Image: Getty Images/Nathan Stirk