Josh Warrington fans to get England-France World Cup showdown as part of world title fight night at first direct Arena

Josh Warrington believes if he can control the pace and withstand an early onslaught from Alberto Lopez, he will make a successful defence of his IBF featherweight title in Leeds on Saturday night.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Leeds Warrior puts his world title on the line at the first direct Arena against Mexican Lopez, who brings a 26-2 (win-loss) record into the ring.

Read More
Josh Warrington interview: Leeds Warrior on Alberto Lopez, one last headline act...

The Matchroom promotion has been tweaked to accommodate England’s World Cup quarter-final with France, with the undercard brought forward to a 1.30pm start followed by a two-hour break when the football will be shown in the arena (from 7pm to 9pm), after which the three main fights will take place.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Warrington’s title showdown tops the bill and the 32-year-old is not under-estimating a mandatory challenger who has knocked out 15 of his opponents.

“He’s a wild, wild puncher - he brings them from last week,” said Warrington.

"Every punch he wants to knock you out with, but he’s been beat, and there’s been a few fights where I feel he’s been lucky to get a decision.

“He likes it at his pace. I know he’s going to start fast, he’ll try and knock me out from the first bell so I have to make sure I’m defensively sound.

Josh Warrington celebrates after regaining the IBF World Featherweight title fight by defeating Kiko Martinez in March (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)Josh Warrington celebrates after regaining the IBF World Featherweight title fight by defeating Kiko Martinez in March (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Josh Warrington celebrates after regaining the IBF World Featherweight title fight by defeating Kiko Martinez in March (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I’ve always been able to pace 12 rounds well and as soon as I get the opportunity to unleash I will do.

"I did 12 rounds with two sparring partners four weeks ago, so I’m ready in that respect.

“I’m not sure he’s had someone who can fight at my intensity.

“If I stand and I’m reckless and I’m silly then I’m in trouble, but if I’m tight, if I’m composed, then it will be an easy one.”

Josh Warrington's next opponent Luis Alberto Lopez celebrates victory after the featherweight bout with Isaac Lowe at York Hall on December 03, 2021 in London (Picture: James Chance/Getty Images)Josh Warrington's next opponent Luis Alberto Lopez celebrates victory after the featherweight bout with Isaac Lowe at York Hall on December 03, 2021 in London (Picture: James Chance/Getty Images)
Josh Warrington's next opponent Luis Alberto Lopez celebrates victory after the featherweight bout with Isaac Lowe at York Hall on December 03, 2021 in London (Picture: James Chance/Getty Images)
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Warrington regained his title by beating Kiko Martinez in March but suffered a broken jaw and torn ligaments in his hand in the process.

It made for a unique return to a pre-fight training camp.

“It’s been a bit of a different build-up, I felt like Michelin Man going into the gym with all the protective gear on,” laughed Warrington.

“It was like having mattresses strapped to my hand I was taking that many precautions. So things have been different, but we always make sure we tick certain boxes: have you got the game plan right? Can you do 12 rounds at a good pace? Have you done that circuit? How’s your technique and timing on the pad?

“Once my dad (coach Sean O’Hagan) is happy with all of them I’m ready to fight."

For tickets click here