Josh Warrington is promising a career best showing when he comes home on March 22. Three years a pro and with 13 fights under his belt the English featherweight king has fought just once in his home city, but now gets to return there for his first title defence when he clashes with Jamie Speight at Leeds Town Hall.
“I’m looking forward to it,” stated undefeated Josh. “I’ve sold 500 tickets, so there’s going to be a lot of people who know I’ve won the title and want to see what I’m all about. It puts a bit more pressure on but it’s also spurred me on to train harder because I want to put on my best performance.
“I went on the [Leeds United Football Club] pitch after I won the title; I’ve had a good response from Leeds fans, and some of the players have started to follow me on Twitter too. @J_Warrington One of the stands at the Town Hall is completely sold out and it’s just like a football tier, so it’s going to be an intimidating place to come to.
“Leeds boxing hasn’t been like Manchester or Liverpool where there are loads of top level fighters but recently we’ve had myself, Adil Anwar, and China Clarke all coming through. If we can get boxing regular at the Town Hall again we can really make it a strong hold.”
More experienced and having mixed with the likes of former English light-welter champ Nigel Wright and current WBO European super-featherweight king Ben Jones; Speight will be hoping to spoil Warrington’s homecoming. With just four losses from 15 contests, Josh knows his challenger can’t be underestimated but he is confident he will keep hold of his belt.
“I’ve seen his record and a little bit of footage,” revealed Josh. “He’s had a few losses but that don’t mean owt. He’s a tough lad, he’s been in with some tough kids and he’s coming to fight. He’s got an opportunity and he’s not one to be taken lightly. I just want the win, it doesn’t matter how it comes. If it comes by stoppage I’ll be happy, but if not I’ll still be happy.”
A skilled dental technician by day, Josh is equally adept with his hands in the ring and the 22-year-old, who has lost just a handful of rounds to date, has a ‘one to watch’ tag. With VIP Promotions’ chief, Steve Wood, recently earmarking him as a future British title challenger, Warrington is happy with his pro progress but keeping his feet on the ground.
“I’m not doing too badly at all. I’m constantly improving and every time I go into a training camp I’m getting better. My last fight was my first 10 rounds and after this one I’ll have another 10-rounder and then we’ll see what comes up. If an opportunity comes up in the meantime we’ll take it but at the minute it’s just learning basics and getting more experience then, when a chance comes, we’ll be ready.”
“Josh has got a wise head on his young shoulders, and we really rate him in the VIP camp,” stated promoter Wood. “I’ve said previously that we want nine British champions by the end of this year and Josh could definitely be one of them. He’s still learning but he is a great prospect and fans in Leeds will be impressed on March 22.”
The undercard for the show includes Dewsbury’s Tony Aitcheson; Liverpool’s Nathan Brough and Tommy Carus; Ashton under Lyne’s Jon Kays; Oldham’s Alex Rutter, and Dudley’s Ryan Aston.
Tickets, priced at £30 (General), £40 (Stage) and £60 (Ringside) are available from all boxers or at www.vipbe.co.uk