Josh Warrington is eyeing a twin celebration in 2018 – in and out of the boxing ring.
The Leeds star will become a dad – with wife Natasha set to give birth to twin girls this Spring – as part of a year in which the Leeds featherweight should also finally get his world title shot.
But as the finer details of Warrington versus Lee Selby are put in place, the Leeds puncher says the outcome of this year’s big bout is not in doubt declaring: “I am confident I can beat Lee Selby and I’m confident I can knock him out as well.”
Warrington took in just the two fights upon his return from a small injury in 2017, but the second of those bouts has proved the most important of his career so far.
Desperate for a crack at Welshman Lee Selby and the 30-year-old’s IBF featherweight world title belt, Warrington made himself the mandatory challenger by defeating Dennis Ceylan at the First Direct Arena in October to pave the way for a world title showdown in 2018.
The triumph formed the second part of a double celebration in 2017 for the 27-year-old who learned that his wife Natasha was pregnant and due to give birth to baby twin girls at the end of February or early March.
The victory against Ceylan was also the sixth knock out success achieved in Warrington’s career and even in his biggest fight yet, the Leeds fighter says the same fate will await Selby on their date with destiny.
Warrington was not impressed by Selby’s display in defeating Eduardo Ramirez on points last month and told the YEP: “I am confident I can beat Lee Selby and I’m confident I can knock him out as well.
“I have always said I am capable of beating him, but in the same breath, I have always said he is a good fighter.
“I have always given him credit in that respect and I have always said it takes a good fighter to win a world title.
“But I have always said I could beat him and I have always said I would have confidence and even more so on the back of that fight.
“It’s not just that last fight that I have looked at and thought ‘he’s more than capable of getting beat now’.
“I think in last few fights or in the last 18 months he’s not looked impressive, he’s not looked a big, dangerous fighter.”
Warrington added: “People keep saying he is this big dangerous puncher but I don’t see that whatsoever.
“The guy he was boxing a few weeks ago, he couldn’t even stand up after six rounds yet Lee went in with absolutely everything he had and the guy was still stood there and he didn’t get stopped.
“If you look at my record, in my last eight fights, five of them have been stoppages.
“You have got to look at figures and at the higher level he has not been able to get the knock-outs and the stoppages whereas I have.
“I’m very confident going into that fight and I think I will prove a lot of people wrong.
“That will take me from just a fighter well known in Leeds and Yorkshire to a fighter well known nationwide and worldwide.” Warrington and his Frank Warren team were hoping to have news of a date and venue for the Selby fight over the turn of the year with Warrington hoping to fulfil the dream of staging the bout at Elland Road – home of the Leeds United team he supports.
With the prospect of another stellar year in store, there was plenty for Warrington to celebrate over Christmas and new year but the gym took precedence over the pubs and clubs for a fighter keeping in the best shape possible for his world title bout.
“I had a fair few nights out after the last fight and I am back in the gym now and just ticking over, keeping myself in shape,” said Warrington.
“It doesn’t look good for a soon-to-be world champion to be on out on the lash.
“I represent myself and people who pay their hard-earned money to come and watch me fight don’t want to be seeing somebody who they want to be world champion spilling out of nightclubs at daft o’clock in the morning.
“I am in the gym, I’m keeping in shape, I’m trying to work on any mistakes I’ve got and perfecting my game, really.”
Reflecting on the prospect of becoming a dad and asked if that changed his outlook on life or boxing ambitions, Warrington pondered: “It doesn’t change things really and if anything it adds more fuel to the fire. I am probably more focussed.
“It’s not just for me winning a world title, it’s about me and my family now.
“It’s about winning a world title and financially taking myself to that next level where I can provide for my family’s future.
“It’s not just about me having a nice car and having nice outfits and what not, it’s about being able to provide for my girls and my family.”