Josh Warrington says he will pass his toughest test yet with flying colours when he defends his Commonwealth Featherweight title against Rendall Munroe at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
The 23 year old won the title in impressive fashion in November, entering Samir Mouneimne’s back yard in Hull and stopping the local man in the final round.
Having stepped up from two successful defences of his English belt to inflict a first defeat on the hot favourite Mouneimne, the Leeds youngster enters deep waters again on Saturday by taking on the vastly experienced former European and Commonwealth Super Bantamweight champion Munroe.
“It was an amazing feeling when the referee waved it off,” said Warrington. “I remember getting into the ring and looking down at the officials’ table and seeing the belt on the side. I looked at it and really wanted to win it. When the referee stepped in, you could see on the TV footage, I was overwhelmed. A lot of hard training had gone into that, a lot of people had written me off but I proved everybody wrong and did the business.
“We had worked on Samir in the gym and we knew the first six rounds would be tricky but we knew in the second half of the fight we would get to him. I knew I had to be patient and stick to my boxing, but that I would eventually get to him and break him down. I knew I had to start upping it in gear and start putting more pressure on him as the fight went on and it paid off in the end.
“Saturday is similar to that. A lot of people might think that Rendall is a step up too soon for me but I think I am ready to be at this level now. It is an opportunity for me to show myself at this level. I am hungrier than ever since winning that belt; I don’t want to let go of it. I want to carry on going and progressing, and it is fights like these that you need to bring out the best in you and I will prove that.
“I have an amazing set of fans who come along and it is good to have them there. They follow me everywhere and there will be a few coming over to Manchester. They cheer you on from the first bell to the last. When you are in clinches and you might be feeling a bit tired, their shouting for you spurs you on that little bit more.”
Munroe is in his 34th pro contest this evening, and his 14th with a big title on the line. The Leicester man is back in the venue where Scott Quigg stopped him in their clash for the interim WBA World Super Bantamweight title in November 2012, a result that saw Munroe hang up his gloves.
‘2 Tone’ returned to action six months later and after failing in his challenge against Lee Selby for the British and European titles in February, Warrington doesn’t need to be told how dangerous a fighter he faces this evening.
“Rendall is definitely a real tough defence – anybody who says it is an easy fight is daft, it’s easily my toughest fight so far” said Warrington. “He is certainly not finished and has something to prove. Rendall knows it is his last throw of the dice and I have read that he is training like it is a World title fight, and that he has a lot to prove after the Selby fight. I am expecting the best Rendall Munroe there can be and that is what I have been training for.
“I remember watching Rendall before I even turned pro. I remember watching him when he was dominating Europe and being a fan, cheering him on and wanting him to do well. It is mad being in with a fighter who, when you were growing up, you were thinking you wouldn’t mind to get to his level. It is crackers.”
Warrington’s clash with Munroe is part of a great night of action, topped by Scott Quigg’s WBA World Super Bantamweight title defence against Tshifhiwa Munyai.
There’s a mouth-watering Manchester derby between Lightweight stars Anthony Crolla and John Murray, Josh Warrington defends his Commonwealth Featherweight title against Rendall Munroe, Tyrone Nurse meets Tyler Goodjohn for the vacant English Light Welterweight title, Hosea Burton is hunting a first title fight and there’s action for Callum Smith, Stephen Foster Jr, Jack Massey, Liam Hanrahan and Sam Hyde.