Leeds favorite Josh Warrington looks to have negated a possible unification with Shakur Stevenson after re-signing with Matchroom Boxing.
Warrington was in advanced talks with Top Rank and Bob Arum about facing Stevenson for two versions of the featherweight crown.
The 29-year-old has instead opted to go back to Eddie Hearn.
A rematch with Kid Galahad looks to be next for Warrington after the pair shared a controversial clash in 2019.
Warrington then wants to crack the American market or vice versa.
Announcing the return of Warrington, Matchroom said: Undefeated IBF Featherweight World Champion Josh Warrington has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. His future fights will be shown live on Sky Sports and DAZN.
‘The Warrior’ (30-0, 7 KOs) created history by becoming Leeds’ first-ever male World Champion when he upset the odds to wrestle the IBF 126lbs crown from Lee Selby at Elland Road. The home of his beloved Leeds United, in May 2018.
Despite producing a career-best performance against Selby, Warrington was again written off by many ahead of his first defence against Irish fight legend and two-weight World Champion Carl Frampton at Manchester Arena in December 2019.
Warrington retained his IBF Title in an epic Fight of the Year contender with ‘The Jackal’. The fight captivated the crowd from the opening bell. A blistering pace was set by the Yorkshire hero as he earned a unanimous victory.
A close-fought battle with IBF mandatory challenger Kid Galahad followed at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, Warrington edging out his Sheffield rival via a controversial split decision that had many in the boxing world divided.
He then went on to defend his title with an emphatic second-round demolition job over Sofiane Takoucht in October. Now, Warrington has his heart set on fighting in the USA and unifying the Featherweight division to cement himself as the no.1 126lbs fighter on the planet.
On joining forces with Hearn again, Warrington stated: “It’s great to be back with Matchroom, Sky and now DAZN. I’m very excited about the future,” said Warrington.
“I have enjoyed my time at BT but now I’m looking forward to going on to achieve my dreams of both fighting in the USA and unifying the division.”
Furthermore, Hearn promised more big nights in Leeds for the Warrington faithful.
“I’m ecstatic to welcome Josh Warrington back to Matchroom,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “
“We had some amazing times helping to build Josh in Leeds. Now, we re-unite at a time when he is the king of the division.
“Josh has some of the most loyal and passionate supporters in sport. We look forward to delivering nights they will never forget.
“There is so much more for Josh to accomplish. Today starts a new chapter in the thrilling Josh Warrington story.”