Josh Warrington-Carl Frampton title fight rights in U.S. go to Top Rank

Top Rank on Thursday made it official that it has acquired the American broadcast rights from British promoter Frank Warren for the Dec. 22 fight he is promoting between featherweight world titleholder Josh Warrington and former titlist Carl Frampton to stream on ESPN+.

The fight, one of the biggest of the year in the United Kingdom, will take place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The ESPN+ stream will begin at 3 p.m. ET.

Warrington (27-0, 6 KOs), 27, will be making his first title defense since winning the 126-pound belt by split decision from Wales' Lee Selby on May 19 before a crowd of some 20,000 at the Elland Road Football Grounds in his hometown of Leeds, England.

"I am truly honored that ESPN+ will be showing my fight," Warrington said. "I announced myself onto the world stage by winning the world title, and now I want to show the American audience who Josh Warrington is by beating Carl Frampton. The long-term aim is to fight in the United States, so this is preparing the audience. The fans are going to witness something special on Dec. 22."

Frampton (26-1, 15 KOs), 31, of Northern Ireland, the 2016 consensus fighter of the year, has unified belts at junior featherweight and also won a featherweight world title. He is looking to win second major title at featherweight.

"It is always a thrill to know that your fights are being showcased to an American audience, and I fully believe they will see something special from me on Dec. 22 when I become a two-time world champion at featherweight," Frampton said. "Then, I will look to unify against one of the top American world titleholders in 2019."

Featherweight prospect Michael Conlan (9-0, 6 KOs), 26, a two-time Olympian from Northern Ireland, who is with Top Rank, will also fight on the card against an opponent to be named. Conlan's bout will be part of the streaming coverage.

"I am really excited to be fighting on the same card as my stablemate and friend Carl Frampton," Conlan said. "I am looking to step up in class and reach 10-0 as a pro by Christmas. The Conlan Revolution rolls into Manchester!"