LEEDS’ Josh Warrington hopes to be dragged into a war so he can prove his power when he defends his WBC International Featherweight title against Patrick Hyland at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on July 30.
Warrington has been taken the distance in two previous challenging title defences in his home town.
Warrington won every round against tough Australian Joel Brunker in September. Then he brilliantly handled a significant height disadvantage against six-foot Japanese Hisashi Amagasa to record another wide decision win in April.
The 25-year-old next faces Irish fans’ favourite Hyland, who is back in action having challenged WBC king Gary Russell Jr for the world title.
“Amagasa and Brunker were tough nights, but we got the wins,” said Warrington.
“Patrick has respect for me and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
“He’s boxed for the world title earlier in the year so he’s been in with the very best and I know that this is a tough examination for me.
“I had to box clever in the last few fights, but I think this one will be toe-to-toe.
“Patrick doesn’t take a backwards step in his fights and I think that I’ll be able to show that I can really dig.”
“This is a great show – it’s the best we’ve done so far in Leeds. The fans have put their hands in their pockets time and time again to come and see me and I think we’re delivering a brilliant card for them – the card oozes talent from top to bottom and it’s going to be a great night.”
Hyland is looking to bounce back from his second world title loss with a big win over Warrington, and he is excited to sample the raucous atmosphere that a night of top class boxing in Leeds offers.
“I’ve got a lot of fans coming over and the atmosphere is going to be electric,” said Hyland. “I’ve seen a lot of Josh’s fights and the noise is deafening so I can’t wait to be part of it.
“Gary Russell Jr is the best in the division. He is so, so fast and speed kills in this sport, but this is a different fight.
“I like how Josh fights and I’ve wanted to get in there with him to test him out and try to take that future world title shot that he’s looking at for myself.
“I think that we’ll end up standing toe-to-toe and giving the fans a real war.”
Warrington’s clash with Hyland tops a huge card to be shown live on Sky when Luke Campbell faces former World champion Argenis Mendez.
Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse will defend his British Super Lightweight title against Hull’s Tommy Coyle, and Barnsley’s Josh Wale gets a shot at the Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight title against Birmingham’s Gamal Yafai.
The fight of the night may well be the Yorkshire derby featuring Nurse and Coyle, two men who previously met as amateurs.
Coyle is the older brother of Leeds United defender Lewie and says he is looking forward to the night.
“I’m really excited to fight in Leeds,” said Coyle.
“I’m a Hull fan but my younger brother Lewie has been at the Leeds academy since he was six and he’s now playing for the first team. I’ve got a lot of love for Leeds; I regularly go down and watch United play. I’m not only looking for support from Hull but I think they’ll be a lot of the Leeds players are coming. I am going to go in and enjoy it.”
Nurse however seemed in no mood to give up his hard won British title: “I’m enjoying keeping that nice shiny gold belt…we boxed 10 years ago. It’s time we did it as men.”