THE “FEAR factor” is pushing Leeds ring king Josh Warrington into training harder than ever before.
Unbeaten Warrington faces the toughest fight of his career when he defends his WBC International and Commonwealth featherweight titles against Joel Brunker on September 5, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
Brunker boxed at the 2004 Athens Olympics and has lost just once – last time out, to Lee Selby in London – in 28 professional bouts.
The highly-rated Australian represents a step up in class for Warrington and even with almost two months to go to the first bell, the Leeds man is already pushing himself hard.
“Training is very intense at the moment,” Warrington said after a press conference to launch the fight, at Leeds City Museum yesterday.
“If anything, I have trained harder than I ever have done.
“This fight has brought the fear factor back.
“A name like Joel Brunker, I have to be switched on on the night.
“There can’t be any hiccups or any excuses.
“I have got to be 99 or 100 per cent on the night, so I am training hard.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn, of Matchroom Boxing, admitted it is a fight Warrington could lose, but the Leeds man said he was the one who suggested Brunker as his next opponent.
“I think it’s a fight I need,” he said.
“The last one, no disrespect to Dennis [Tubieron], he was a good opponent, but after seven or eight rounds he knew he couldn’t win.
“He wanted to see the final bell and I just wanted to get it over with.
“I don’t think that brought the best out of me, you need that bit of a fear factor at times. You need to be scared of an opponent and have that fear of losing and that brings the best out of you.
“It makes you train a bit harder and I know I can’t be going into the fight half-hearted, I have to be switched on.”
Tickets went on sale last week and Hearn – who described Warrington as the best ticket-seller in the country – revealed around half have already been snapped up.
Warrington said: “If anybody thought the fight last time was special, this will be another level. He is going to bring it all and he wants to win as much as I do. I am urging fans to come out in their numbers.
“I know a lot of fans say they are waiting for the big one at Elland Road, but that’s not going to happen unless we win nights like September 5. Be part of the journey now, follow me now – let’s get this arena packed out and we can show that when Elland Road does come, we’ll be able to pack that out.
“I need the support more than ever now. It is the biggest fight of my career.
“It is not an easy fight, so get down, make plenty of noise and let’s have another good night.”
Warrington’s undercard will include Andy Townend – originally from Wakefield – making the first defence of his English super-featherweight title against Lee Glover.