Big unification bouts lay ahead for IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington (31-1-1, 8KOs) providing he can move past Luis Alberto Lopez (26-2-0, 15KOs) on Saturday.

The card at the First Direct Arena in Leeds will be split around England’s quarter-final clash with France in the World Cup which kicks off at 7pm.

The undercard is set to begin at 1:30pm on Saturday afternoon with action halting just before the football begins in the evening.

The final three fights on the card will then resume at around 9pm providing the match does not go to extra time and penalties.

In which case a further 45 minute delay is expected.

Both men were fired up at Friday’s weigh-in 24 hours before their showdown in Leeds. Picture by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Warrington became a two-time featherweight world champion in March when he halted Spain’s Kiko Martinez in seven rounds over a year after he initially vacated the IBF belt.

Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan are among the names touted for potential showdowns with the Leeds man who has long spoken of his desire to unify at 126lbs.

Mandatory challenger Lopez enters the evening as a serious threat to Warrington’s title however and has already disposed of Isaac Lowe on British shores in 2021.

The Mexican has picked up two knockouts since and his aggressive style is certain to make for a fan-friendly affair on Saturday evening.

Words continued to be exchanged between the pair ahead of their world title showdown. Picture by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

IBF bantamweight champion Ebanie Bridges (8-1-0, 3KOs) and fellow Australian Shannon O’Connell (23-6-1, 11KOs) clash in a fiery chief support.

The pair have engaged in several verbal tussles in the lead-up to Saturday night with O’Connell referring to Bridges as a ‘skanky hooker’ for how she dresses on the scales in fight week.

Bridges grinned back at her countrywoman and vows to make the first defence of her title since defeating Maria Roman in March.

A potential unification with new Matchroom signing and WBA champion Nina Hughes lies ahead for the winner.

Former British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Felix Cash (15-0-0, 10KOs) is also set to run out ahead of a huge clash with undefeated American Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams in 2023.

Portugal’s Celso Neves (9-2-2, 2KOs) will be in the opposing corner for their eight-round encounter on Saturday evening.

Cash is all set to face the undefeated Williams in 2023 providing he emerges unscathed this weekend. Picture by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Shannon Courtenay (7-2-0, 3KOs) marks her return against Gemma Ruegg (5-5-0, 1KO) in an eight-round super-bantamweight contest over twelve months on from her defeat to Jamie Mitchell.

The loss saw Courtenay surrender her WBA bantamweight title.

Liverpool super-welterweight James Metcalf (23-2-0, 14KOs) takes on America’s Courtney Pennington (16-5-3, 7KOs) over ten rounds.

Metcalf upset Kerman Lejarraga in his hometown Bilbao seven months ago and continues the hunt for titles next year at 154lbs.

Local favourite Hopey Price (8-0-0, 3KOs) hopes to shine in front of his home crowd when he collides with Spain’s Jonathan Santana (9-3-1, 1KO) in an eight-round featherweight clash.

Rhiannon Dixon (6-0-0) also clashes with Kristine Shergold (7-6-1, 1KO) over eight rounds at lightweight, while Junaid Bostan (3-0-0, 3KOs) takes on Athanasios Glynos (2-1-0, 1KO) over six at super-welterweight.

Local talents Cory O’Regan (8-0-0) and Koby McNamara (3-0-0) are also set to feature at lightweight and bantamweight respectively.

Courtenay hopes for another shot at world titles in 2023. Picture by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

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