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Josh Warrington prepared to face Can Xu without a live audience

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington 30-0 (7) says he would accept a fight against Can Xu 18-2 (3) behind closed doors but he wouldn’t be happy about his supporters missing out.

The 29-year-old ‘Leeds Warrior’ was close to finalising a deal with China’s Xu, 26, at Headingley Stadium before the global coronavirus pandemic quashed those plans.

It is expected that when boxing shows initially return it will be without spectators in attendance.

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While it is far from the ideal scenario, Warrington says he would be prepared to bite the bullet if promoter Eddie Hearn offered him the opportunity to face the talented Xu in the coming months.

“If Eddie said ‘listen, you’re going to have to fight behind closed doors for a unification or you wait until next year but it’s not going to happen’ then I’d scoop up the unification fight,” Warrington told PA.

“I’d feel guilty a little bit because there are a lot of fans who have been coming since day dot and have not missed a single fight and there are a lot of fans who sacrifice a lot just to be there.

“It’s an occasion, a lot of them feel like they’re in there with me and I couldn’t imagine having to force them to sit at home and watch it on the telly.

“I can imagine a few of them saying ‘surely you can just get me in, Josh, and I’ll stand at the back or something’.

“But if that’s what it would have to be to make sure that we got the big fight then it would have to happen like that.”

Warrington won the IBF crown with a split decision victory over Lee Selby two years ago. He has defended the title three times, including points victories over Carl Frampton and Kid Galahad.

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