JUST champion – that was the proud message today from Leeds to hometown boxing hero Josh Warrington.
Warrington returned from a seven-month lay-off to successfully defend his WBC international featherweight title at the city’s First Direct Arena last night.
He claimed a unanimous points win over Japan’s Hisashi Amagasa in front of a typically-raucous crowd of Yorkshire fight fans.
And afterwards a string of famous Leeds sporting names took to Twitter to congratulate the 25-year-old on his victory.
Leeds United defender Liam Cooper made reference to wins for the Whites and Leeds Rhinos as he said: “Good week for everything Leeds!!”
Former United goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, meanwhile, tweeted: “Well done @J_Warrington great win! good weekend for Leeds.”
Well done @J_Warrington great win! good weekend for Leeds.Tweet from ex-Leeds United goalkeeper Nigel Martyn
Ex-United striker Noel Whelan said: “3 out of 3 rhinos, leeds Utd and @J_Warrington all done Leeds proud great weekend for the city of Leeds.”
Also on Twitter, Leeds Rhinos posted: “Get in there! Well done @J_Warrington heroic effort, you’ve done Leeds proud once again.”
And Leeds United said: “Congratulations @J_Warrington! A fine weekend for sport in Leeds!”
Familiar faces in the crowd at the arena included Leeds midfielder Lewis Cook and former Whites manager Simon Grayson, with the latter paying a pre-fight visit to Warrington’s dressing room.
The boxer’s entrance music was his traditional mix of United’s Marching On Together anthem and I Predict A Riot by Leeds indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs.
Last night’s win took Warrington a step closer to a showdown with IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby – a bout that many believe should be staged at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground.
United’s fans are clearly behind their man, with chants of “Josh Warrington” coming from the South Stand during the club’s 3-2 home win over Reading yesterday afternoon.
Speaking to Sky Sports 1 on the prospect of facing Wales’s Selby, Warrington said: “It’s a fight that Leeds people want, it’s a fight that I want. I think I’ve got what it takes to beat him.”