Promoter Frank Warren has promised to “move heaven and earth” to secure Josh Warrington a world title fight in Leeds if the featherweight comes through the most dangerous bout of his career against Kiko Martinez.
Warrington wants victory over Martinez in a 12-round WBC International contest tonight to lead to an immediate shot at a world belt and Warren, who is promoting Warrington for the first time this evening, hopes to retain home advantage in any future fight.
Martinez – a 31-year-old Spaniard who has previously held the IBF title in an impressive 44-fight career – represents a major step up in class for Warrington, who is returning to the ring 10 months after his last appearance against Irishman Patrick Hyland.
Warrington maintained his perfect 24-fight record with a ninth-round stoppage of Hyland but was forced to take an extended break from the ring after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.
He will attempt to put himself in line for a world-title opportunity at a packed First Direct Arena in Leeds and Warren said: “He picked Kiko for his first fight back. It’s a tough fight for him and that tells you what Josh is all about.
“Provided he comes through this fight and does it in style, we’re going to move heaven and earth to get a world title fight for him in Leeds. But I’m talking as a promoter. I’m sure he’s not looking past Kiko.”
Warrington has long been mooted as an opponent for Lee Selby, the Welshman who currently holds the IBF title, and he admitted he was impatient for a chance to challenge at that level.
“It’s been dragging on for some time now,” Warrington said. “My name’s been linked with other fighters but then no end product happening.
“Me and my team know what we want and we know what we want to be. We want to win a world title and not just have a party. We want to win a world title and stay champion for a couple of years.”
Double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams makes her second professional appearance on the undercard.