Boxing: Elland Road dream a step closer for Leeds-based world title contender Warrington

'Leeds Warrior' Josh Warrington is scheduled to fight Lee Selby at Elland Road on May 19.
'Leeds Warrior' Josh Warrington is scheduled to fight Lee Selby at Elland Road on May 19.
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Josh Warrington’s dream of winning a world title at Elland Road is a step closer after Leeds United’s stadium was confirmed as the venue for his IBF featherweight bout with Lee Selby.

Warrington, a lifelong United fan, will be backed by a huge home crowd when he makes his first bid for a world belt on Saturday, May 19.

The 27-year-old has been chasing a world-title shot for the past three years but was also pushing for a fight at Elland Road after several appearances at Leeds’ First Direct Arena.

Promoter Frank Warren has secured United’s ground for the all-British contest between Warrington and Selby, who is defending his title for the fifth time against the IBF’s mandatory challenger.

The pair are long-standing rivals having come close to a meeting in 2016 but Warrington put himself at the front of the queue to fight Selby after beating Denmark’s Dennis Ceylan in a final eliminator in October.

Warrington, who holds a perfect 26-fight record, is aiming to becoming Leeds’ first-ever professional boxing champion and told the YEP last week that he was set on “making history” against Welshman Selby.

Speaking yesterday, Warrington said: “The city of Leeds is craving a world champion and I’m going to give them what they want.

“With the support of an entire city behind me I’m going to create history, I’m going to give absolutely everything to get my hands on that world title.”

The Championship play-off semi-finals are due to finish before May 19 and Leeds agreed to stage the bout despite England’s football team scheduling a World Cup warm-up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road on June 8.

Selby, 30, insisted he is happy to fight in Warrington’s home city, saying: “Fighting away from home in his backyard doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

“This is a huge fight and it makes sense to take it to a football stadium.

“There will be tens of thousands of his fans backing him but it’s only me and him in the ring.”