LEEDS’S Josh Warrington insists there is more to his boxing life than fighting Lee Selby as he prepares for his latest bout at First Direct Arena on Saturday against Irish challenger Patrick Hyland.
A mouth-watering clash with IBF featherweight world champion Selby appeared set to take place at Elland Road this summer.
But instead WBC International and European featherweight champion Warrington will take on Hyland this weekend, topping a bill that also features Hull’s London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell fighting Argenis Mendez. Warrington admits there had been an opportunity to fight Selby this month - but only at the last minute and at the First Direct Arena as opposed to Elland Road.
The Leeds ace - who will marry his fiancee Natasha Lynch next month - wanted more time and believes a fight with Selby could still happen at the end of the year. But the 25-year-old has also stressed he would be happy to fight instead for the WBA crown, held by Léo Santa Cruz, should Selby and Warrington continue to go their separate ways.
Undefeated Warrington says any fight with Selby at Elland Road this summer ultimately proved impossible given the short window the ground was available but explained: “All of a sudden an offer came out of the blue – do you want to fight at the Arena at the end of July?
“We said ‘put it to Selby’ and said that if we can fight at the end of the year that would be perfect for us because we have got a lot going on and for a world title we just need a little bit more focus and stuff like that. It would have been a lot of pressure, especially so soon. While we were waiting for a response he responded on social media calling me a coward and a chicken and this that and the other.
“It frustrated me a little bit, but it’s one of them things and now he is saying that he doesn’t want to fight me. It’s one of them things, but as soon as we get this one out of the way then there’s no reason why it can’t happen at the end of the year at the Arena – and we can go to Elland Road against anybody as there are other routes to go down. I think if you bring a big name or a world champion over to Elland Road, I think the fans will turn out in full.
“There’s other options – Selby might get beat in his next fight and if he does then he’s not a world champion and we can’t fight for a world title.
“I’m ranked No 1 in the WBC and there’s the WBA and Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton and there’s possibilities of fighting someone like them, so there’s other options. It’s not just about fighting Lee Selby.”
Warrington also warned not to underestimate Irish fighter Hyland on Saturday with the 32-year-old having suffered only two losses in a 33-fight career
“Let’s just get through Saturday,” said Warrington.
“I don’t really think we should talk about Selby. It’s all about Saturday for me and I don’t want to start looking over hills when I have got a very tough fight ahead of me. That would be disrespectful to Patrick – he’s a respectable fighter so it’s all about me winning and winning in style and then we go from there.”