World champion boxer by day, film star by night.
It is all in a day’s work for Leeds born boxer Josh Warrington, as he attended the premier tonight (Thursday) of Fighting For A City, a feature film about himself.
For two years cameras followed him from training, to bouts, to home, his wedding to wife Natasha and the birth of his twin daughters.
Little did he know then that the film would have a hero’s ending as he made Leeds history at Elland Road by becoming the city’s first male world boxing champion when he beat Lee Selby in May to become the IBF featherweight champion.
The film was aired at Leeds Town Hall to hundreds of fans, critics and some famous faces, including Leeds United players Kemar Roofe, Barry Douglas, Gaetano Berardi, Luke Ayling, Tom Pearce and Adam Forshaw and members of the Kaiser Chiefs.
He said: “When I started out I did not think I would come to a premier of a film about myself, it is just not something that you think don the gloves and think about belts and fights but it is a massive honour.
“I am Leeds through and through. What you see is what you get and we are just lads from an estate. My ultimate goal was to put the city on the map in terms of boxing, we have made history but this is also about telling the story of the city.”
As he prepares to defend his title next month against Carl Frampton, Warrington’s father and trainer Sean O’Hagan says the film gives an insight of what goes on outside the ring.
He said: “Most people focus on fights but there is always a story behind it. This gives you a good insight and people will be surprised.”
Fighting for A City, by Leeds based Moneyglass Films, is the opener to the 32nd Leeds International Film Festival (LIF).
It started today and runs until November 15 where there will be 330 screenings and events including 17 UK premieres and two world premieres.
As well as the Warrington documentary the prgramme continues to showcasing Yorkshire talent, as the other global first is Bill Buckhearst’s Doncaster set “Pond-Life”.
Chris Fell, director of LIF said: “LIF is an epic 15-day celebration of the work of new talent and established film-makers.”