Boxing: Leeds Town Hall crowd like a 12th man - Warrington

Josh Warrington.
Josh Warrington.
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Josh Warrington wants to make Leeds Town Hall his second home after retaining his English featherweight title at the historic venue on Friday night.

The 22-year-old, from Osmondthorpe, put in an impressive performance to beat Jamie Speight over 10 rounds in what was easily the biggest show the city has seen in recent years.

And he is targeting more championship nights at the iconic Headrow building.

“I hope that everyone who came enjoyed it and will come back again,” Warrington said.

“Having the Leeds crowd behind me is like a football team having a 12th man and it’d be amazing to have more title fights at the town hall.

“It’s a very intimidating place for my opponents to come to and I want to make it a stronghold.”

Pumped up after making an entrance to Leeds United’s anthem “Marching on Together”, Warrington took to Speight from the off and hurt the Devon man several times with hooks to the body.

The trend continued throughout the rounds, but despite Speight nursing a cut over his right eye, he hung on to the final bell.

Two judges scored the contest 100-91 to Warrington, while a third had it at 100-90.

It’s a victory which underlines Warrington’s potential for the top. Many boxing experts already rank him at number three in the country so he’s fast closing in on a shot at Lee Selby’s British title.

However, Warrington believes it’s all about taking opportunities at the right time and not rushing into anything.

“I’m still young and I’m still learning with every fight so we’re just taking everything steady,” he stated.

“Obviously, if the chances arrive we’ll take them but there’s no rush.”

Warrington added: “If I could bring a British title to Leeds and defend at the town hall, that’d be amazing. And who knows, if I can keep building a crowd like I am now, then one day I could end up fighting at the Leeds Arena.”

On Friday night’s undercard, Dewsbury’s Tony Aitcheson got his career back under way with a six-round points win over Hucknall’s tall Nathan Capeness.

Aitcheson, 23, who hasn’t boxed since 2009, was aggressive throughout. He sent the Nottinghamshire boxer to the canvas in the final round but had to settle for a 59-55 verdict from scoring referee Michael Alexander.

Elsewhere, Tyson Fury has put the boot into his UK heavyweight peers, insisting that he is the only one threatening to put British boxing back on the world map.

Fury steps back into the ring on April 20 when he meets former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham on US soil.

“In the UK it comes down to the Final Four, which really comes down to one,” Fury is quoted as saying by BoxingScene.com.

“You have David Price, David Haye, Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury. David Price was knocked out by Tony Thompson, who has already been knocked out twice by Wladimir Klitschko. David Haye doesn’t want to fight anyone while Dereck Chisora is out the reckoning. That just leaves Tyson Fury as the last man standing and I’m okay with that.”

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