Image Credit- Itv
To say that the past few years have been eventual for Leeds’ very own Josh Warrington would be an understatement. In 2018 the featherweight fighter and University of Leeds alumni defeated Lee Selby, known as the “Welsh Mayweather” via split decision to win the IBF title. In doing so became the second boxer from Leeds to win a world title. The first was Nicola Adams for the Women’s World Flyweight Boxing Championship in 2016
Since then he has successfully defended his belt three times, firstly against Northern Irish boxing legend Carl Frampton and secondly against fellow British pugilist Kid Gallahad, winning the first fight by unanimous decision and the second by split decision.
In October of last year he secured his first knockout victory in two years against France’s Sofiane Takoucht, putting to rest criticisms that he only wins fights by twelve round point decisions. These victories have established Warrington as a major contender in international boxing, with a well- earned reputation for overwhelming his opponents lighting fast hand-speed and accuracy.
It is these skill sets that have also earned Warrington his place at the top of The Ring magazine and BoxRec featherweight rankings.
In an interesting and highly exciting turn in the 28 year old’s career he abandoned promoter Frank Warren and his company Queensbury Promotions on Wednesday 12th February to sign with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, alongside other world champions such as heavyweight Antony Joshua, lightweight Katie Taylor and super-middleweights Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith.
This is a significant milestone in Josh Warrington’s career and also a very positive one. Although Frank Warren is a well established promoter, he has developed a poor reputation among boxing fans for setting up matches between good quality boxers and substandard opponents. The career so far of British heavyweight Daniel DuBois – a very tough and capable fighter who many feel could go much further if Warren had matched him against better opponents – is testament to this.
Now that Warrington has signed with the well renowned Eddie Hearn he is much more likely to gain more high profile fights against more well known boxers, and is much closer to his ambition of securing another world title. Eddie Hearn has already confirmed that another world title fight is his main focus, and that Headingley Stadium in Leeds is the desired venue, meaning there could well be a major international boxing match happening right in many Leeds students’ backyards.
Warrington has established himself as a household name in Leeds, where his regular appearances at Leeds United FC matches as well as charitable acts such as visits to local hospitals have made him extremely popular.
His matches at Elland Road, the home of his beloved football club, have been incredible spectacled, packed with passionate local fans cheering him on. Warrington’s status as a symbol of local pride is reminiscent of when Ricky Hatton’s Manchester fans followed him religiously in the 2000s. We now have the prospect of this atmosphere being brought to Headingley, and if Warrington’s success continues will likely see it travel across the Atlantic to the United States.