Warrington meets Leeds idols ahead of title defence

Boxer Josh Warrington at Thorp Arch Leeds United training ground'Puctured with Paul Green Stephen Warnock, Luke Murphy, Tom Lees and Ross McCormack

Boxer Josh Warrington at Thorp Arch Leeds United training ground'Puctured with Paul Green Stephen Warnock, Luke Murphy, Tom Lees and Ross McCormack

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Josh Warrington realised a childhood dream on Tuesday when he met his Leeds United idols during a visit to the Thorp Arch training ground.

Warrington is busily preparing for next Friday’s English featherweight title defence against Ian Bailey at the Elland Road pavilion but took time out to meet the United stars.

The Central Boxing Club fighter chatted to striker and big boxing fan Ross McCormack and even had the chance to spend time on the pads with Leeds manager Brian McDermott.

A delighted Warrington said: “When I turned professional, I could never have dreamt that something like this would happen - to meet the Leeds team was absolutely amazing.

“Boxers sacrifice a lot when training for a big fight but Tuesday made the late night runs and hard sessions worthwhile.

“The team were brilliant and they were all asking me about the fight.

“Unfortunately, they won’t be able to be there, as Leeds play Millwall the next day but everyone seemed keen to come to my next fight, which is great.

“I was chatting with Brian McDermott, who asked about where I train.

“I told him the Central Club is a bit rough and tough but somewhere we all enjoy training and he seemed keen to learn more and may even want the team to come down and have a session.

“It was great for Leeds to invite me down to help raise the profile of the fight and I realise this kind of thing could become regular if I keep winning and putting in the good performances.”

Warrington is sure to be backed by a huge home support when he takes on Bailey in the second defence of his English crown next Friday.

While not looking past the Berkshire man, who comes to the ring with a record of nine wins from 23 fights, Warrington knows victory could propel him to bigger things.

The 22-year-old added: “As the fight gets nearer, the excitement builds and I’m sure people will start clambering for tickets after this publicity.

“We’ll be close to a sell out next Friday I’m sure and it will be another cracking atmosphere.

“Leeds Rhinos players had also said they would like to be there next Friday but they may still be involved in the play-offs.”

Next Friday’s Yorkshire’s Finest bill at Elland Road will see Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes take on London based Jamaican Mark McKray in a six-round bout as he build towards a crack at the British title against Liverpool’s Stephen Smith later this year.

The bill also includes Leeds duo Adil Anwar and China Clarke, along with Hull’s Tommy Coyle.

Tickets for Warrington’s title defence are available by calling 07936 421459 or via Twitter @J_Warrington.

Sykes also has a batch of tickets for the show, available by contacting Mark Waters on 07890 071883.