LEEDS boxer Josh Warrington bids to land a third new title in 13 months tonight (Oct 4) with European glory at the First Direct Arena.
A European featherweight crown added to Commonwealth, British and English belts would be quite a collection.
Yet if Warrington has his way the best is yet to come with the Rookwood ace admitting his next goal is to become featherweight champion of the world.
Warrington, 23, will take on Italy’s Davide Dieli at the First Direct Arena tonight for the vacant European featherweight crown – just four months after becoming British champion when defeating Martin Lindsay at the same venue.
That success came just one month after the defence of his recently acquired Commonwealth belt against Rendall Munroe in Manchester with Warrington initially becoming Commonwealth champion after defeating Samir Mouneimne in Hull last November. And Warrington is fully intent on allowing his growing belt haul to continue with the former John Smeaton High School star confident of becoming European champion tonight before setting his sights on world domination.
The boxer – who still works as a dental technician for Beever Dental – admits the last 13 months have been a life-changing rollercoaster but in undefeated Warrington’s eyes the fun is only just beginning with even bigger and better goals envisaged for 2015 and beyond – both in and out of the boxing ring. Speaking exclusively to the YEP this week, Warrington admitted: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind 12 months for me.
“This time last year we were getting ready to defend the English title for the second time at Elland Road pavilion and now we’re selling around six or seven thousand tickets at the Leeds Arena.
“In that 12 months I have captured the Commonwealth and British titles and it’s been a rollercoaster ride but I’m loving every minute of it and sometimes you have just got to take opportunities when they come along.
“I’ve been a professional for five years now and it was the right time to step up. When I first turned pro I set my aims on the British title and obviously we have done that in the last fight. That goal is done and I’ve had to set myself a new goal which is to go right to the top and be world champion. I think to do that you have got to take fights like the European title to show that you can leave domestic level behind and take the next step up.”
Warrington would bring the house down with victory tonight as part of ‘super Saturday’ which begins when Leeds United – the club the boxer passionately supports – take on Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road this lunchtime. There are fewer prouder Leeds lads than Warrington who cannot wait to feel another cauldron of noise at First Direct Arena.
“I’m very excited to box there again and it’s putting Leeds back on that boxing map,” said Warrington
“I’m a proud Leeds lad and it was only the other week that I went over to Manchester and everyone from Sky was coming over and commenting how excited they were to be coming to Leeds to see the show and how they were looking forward to the atmosphere. It’s building it’s own little reputation as being noisy and obviously it’s good for the city and good for up and coming pro boxers. I love fighting at home and I love nothing more than fighting to a packed arena.”
Tonight, he’d also love nothing more than a fourth prestigious title, though come the aftermath of this evening’s showdown, Warrington will be swapping the boxing gloves for paint brushes and rollers.
The Leeds star and long-term girlfriend Natasha have recently bought their first house together in Garforth and aim to be moved in before Christmas.
After five years as a couple, you sense another major development might also be imminent but Warrington is keeping his cards close to his chest. Quizzed about any other potential upcoming ‘engagements’ the popular boxer laughed: “We’ve been together for more or less over five years now and she keeps hinting at a proposal! But not yet! I keep dropping in that the only rings I’m thinking about are boxing rings – not diamond rings.”
Josh Warrington has hailed the flexibility of his nine-til-five employers ahead of tonight’s European title fight.
Despite holding belts as Commonwealth, above, British and English champion, Warrington remains in full-time employment at Adel-based dental technician Beever Dental. Yet unlike in his preparation for his previous bouts, Warrington has had six weeks off in the run up to tonight’s showdown which the boxer says has been crucial.
Warrington explained: “This time around I have been able to concentrate fully on training and I think at this level that’s what you need. Before, I might have been rushing a little bit with my schedule and I would get up before work, run, go to work, come home, rush some food down my neck and then go back to the gym.
“Now I am doing a two or three hour training session in the morning, coming home, resting, eating properly and then training again in the evenings so a massive thank you to Phil Reddington – the MD at Beever Dental.
“He’s a top bloke who’s said ‘when you’re finished your seat’s still here for you’ when it could have been taken a hundred times over.”