Boxing: Warrington eager to take next step on road to World glory

Leeds' Josh Warrington.

Leeds' Josh Warrington.

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Josh Warrington hopes the world is his and his home city’s oyster ahead of his maiden Commonwealth title defence.

Leeds ace Warrington will take on Leicester’s Rendall Munroe at the Manchester Arena tonight in the first defence of his Commonwealth featherweight crown. And the Central Boxing Club star hopes a victory in tonight’s Sky Sports 2 televised contest can provide the springboard to bigger and better things. Warrington, a dental technician by trade, admits he would relish the opportunity to defend his title at a packed show in Leeds when, for once, there would be no opposition to the fighter entering to his ‘Marching On Together’ entrance music.

The 23-year-old was advised to walk in to another piece of music before becoming Commonwealth champion in Hull last November and a similar scenario is envisaged across the Pennines tonight. Yet hostility proved no barrier to Warrington beating Samir Mouneimne in Hull and confidence is high ahead of tonight’s Manchester bout, so much so that the young Yorkshireman has long term designs on a world title bout.

“When I first started professional my dream was to win the Lonsdale belt,” Warrington told the YEP. “I’m still looking to do that, I’ve won the Commonwealth and they say that’s a step above. I’m training with the likes of world champions and I believe that I could go on to be world champion – it’s every boxer’s dream to do so and I don’t see why I can’t do that. Hopefully, if I can get through my fight in Manchester I will be looking on to bigger things and I’d certainly like to come back to Leeds and defend it in Leeds.”

The city is close to Warrington’s heart – as is its football team. It’s the reason that Marching On Together is his chosen entrance music. Warrington is now praying that the Whites’ promotion to the Premier League is forthcoming under new owner Massimo Cellino and when possible the boxer will be at Elland Road offering his support. In the meantime, Warrington is out to help the Leeds boxing scene become Premier class too.

“Sport in the city is growing and obviously you have got the Rhinos who are superb at what they are doing,” said Warrington. “Once Leeds (United) are up in there in the Premier it will be even better. The boxing side is also growing and Leeds hasn’t really been recognised for its boxing. But over the last couple of years it has been really good with Nicola Adams and Jack Bateson going well and myself. Hopefully we can put Leeds on the map from a boxing side.”

Victory tonight will help in that regard but, even as a Commonwealth champion, Warrington remains committed to his day job as a dental technician.

“It keeps me grounded,” said Warrington. “It brings a wage in as well. Hopefully there will be a stage where I’m just boxing full time but for the time being I don’t mind doing my day job as well.”

But for tonight it’s back to the boxing – though Warrington admits he will once again likely be instructed to use different entrance music. “I asked for Marching On Together over in Hull last time and they pulled a few faces saying ‘I don’t think that will go down too well,’” said Warrington. “I came in to some Rihanna rap song but I didn’t get a clever reception even when I was stood there. I was getting all sorts of abuse. I had to have a load of security men just to guard me out. I couldn’t leave the changing rooms for a while. It was certainly quite hostile in Hull and I guess it might not go down well if they played Marching On Together in Manchester. Ah well.”