Josh Warrington Exclusive: I Want Unification With Gary Russell Jr Before Fighting Leo Santa Cruz Or Oscar Valdez
Josh Warrington has set his sights on a massive unification bout against Gary Russell Jr before jumping up in weight to face Leo Santa Cruz or Oscar Valdez.
Warrington, 28, makes the third defence of his IBF featherweight world title against Sofiane Takoucht on Saturday in Leeds.
And while he's focused on facing the Frenchman, he has mapped out his future which includes a unification and a chance to win a world title in a second division.
'The Leeds Warrior' captured his featherweight belt in May 2018, and he wants to add another title to his collection in the shape of Russell Jr's WBC strap.
"I've made my intentions very clear. I want to fight for another world title. It's just proving harder to get them fights made," he told to SPORTbible.
An honour and privilege to return to @6RegtRLC today and meet our troops :punch:
I take huge inspiration from all our armed forces :boom:
Enjoy the tickets for October 12th and keep working hard pic.twitter.com/hpz8x1tQd9
- Josh Warrington (@J_Warrington) October 1, 2019
"The other champions don't seem to want it. Two of them have already vacated their titles and moved up in weight. It leaves one more champion. He's been spouting my name on social media so I'm hoping that, get this win out of the way, and we can sort out a fight with myself and Gary Russell Jr."
Of course, Warrington is referring to Santa Cruz and Valdez who've both left the 126lbs division to pursue new challenges at 130lbs.
And if the opportunity presents itself, Warrington, too, would move up in weight to face either men.
"You know what, if they said let's fight at super feather, then I would want that fight. Mainly because Santa Cruz is a massive name. Obviously, he's had two big fights with Carl Frampton," he added.
"Oscar Valdez, styles sometimes make fights and I think mine and his style would gel really well.
"But, ultimately, I want to unify the featherweight division. I want to win another title in this division. Then go from there so if I could have it my own way, fight Russell Jr. first, then if the fights with Santa Cruz and Valdez are there, then go up there."
The IBF, meanwhile, have ordered a final eliminator between Kid Galahad and Claudio Marrero. Warrington fought Galahad last June, and they could be set to run it back if the Sheffield-fighter beats Marrero.
However, the defending world champion isn't keen on rematching Galahad, yet he'll face him if the governing body enforce the mandatory defence.
"Listen, if I had to take a rematch then I have to take it. But no one would want to see that again. The guy wasn't there to win the fight."
If a fight between Warrington and Santa Cruz or Valdez comes to fruition, he'd be more than happy to travel to the States.
"I would love to do that. I would love to fight in the States," he said when asked about taking his Leeds army across the pond.