Warrington plans big homecoming at Leeds Town Hall

Josh Warrington shows off his championship belt when introduced to the Leeds United crowd at half-time of the game against Middlesbrough at Elland Road

Josh Warrington shows off his championship belt when introduced to the Leeds United crowd at half-time of the game against Middlesbrough at Elland Road

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Central Boxing Club’s Josh Warrington takes centre stage when he aims to defend his English featherweight title at a packed Leeds Town Hall this Friday.

Warrington, who trains out of the Batley boxing club, takes on Devon’s Jamie Speight in the first defence of his title and the 22-year-old is buzzing about fighting in front of a packed home crowd

Warrington, who finished his sparring against IBF World bantamweight title challenger Jamie McDonnell last Saturday, said: “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) pitch after I won the title. I’ve had a good response from Leeds fans. 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.”

Speight’s record stands at 11 wins and four defeats from his 15 fights, while Warrington has won all 13 bouts.

Warrington added: “I’ve seen his record and a little bit of footage. 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.”

VIP promoter Steve Wood is planning big things for Warrington and he added: “Josh has got a wise head on his young shoulders, and we really rate him in the VIP camp. 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 Friday.”

Following the success of Gary Sykes last Friday, victory for Warrington would see the Central Boxing Club housing two English champions.

Tickets, priced at £30 (General), £40 (Stage) and £60 (Ringside) are available from all boxers or at www.vipbe.co.uk