LEEDS champion Josh Warrington has set his sights on becoming the modern day Ricky Hatton ahead of tonight’s mouth-watering date at First Direct Arena.
European, Commonwealth and British featherweight champion Warrington takes on Dennis Tubieron in an official eliminator for the WBC world featherweight title, live on Sky.
The vacant WBC international crown is also on offer and an army of some 10,000 partisan supporters will be yelling on Warrington with a large proportion sharing the boxer’s passion for the city’s football team.
The 24-year-old yearns for success at Elland Road and was himself in the crowd for last weekend’s 3-0 loss at home to Blackburn Rovers.
Plenty of Whites fans will take in a Leeds sporting double header tomorrow with United entertaining Championship visitors Cardiff around seven hours before Warrington fights at First Direct Arena.
And man of the moment Warrington hopes to continue uniting the city’s football and boxing scenes – in a similar fashion to how Hatton gained such a following from Manchester City’s fan base in the last decade.
Warrington told the
“I’ve had a few lads who go down Elland Road saying ‘we’ve been supporting you with what’s going on at Leeds, both on the pitch and off the pitch.
“When I box it’s hopefully a case of come down and see a bit of glory, see a bit of success and see a Leeds lad put everything in and do well with it.
“I enjoy that and I enjoy the atmosphere that goes with it as well. I feel for Neil Redfearn and it’s been a bit frustrating for the players and fans but hopefully I can inspire them a little bit and they can progress as well.
“Hopefully I can bring a bit of glory to Leeds’ fans and give then something to cheer about.
“In terms of boxing, Leeds has been starved of it for a long time – especially at a high level. But if I win this fight on Saturday we could break on to the world level and we could potentially have massive fights at Elland Road. I’m chuffed about that as no-one is prouder of the city than I am – I love the city.
“I’m doing it for myself but I’m also doing it for Leeds.”
The Leeds United links will continue when former Whites favourite Vinnie Jones will join Warrington in his ring walk tonight for a fight in which the Leeds man is as short as 1-100 favourite with some bookmakers.
Such odds suggest a formality but Warrington reasoned: “People don’t know much about this Filipino. And just because I am such short odds I can’t take this fight too lightly. At the end of the day, it’s two men in there.
“It’s boxing and one punch can change a fight.
“That said, I am going in there 100 per cent focussed and I’m treating it like it’s a world title fight.”
Just don’t expect Warrington to be quick to take to social media on Sunday morning.
The boxing star and girlfriend Natasha have now completed their move to their new home in Garforth but Warrington revealed: “We’ve got no Wi-Fi and it’s like going back to the stone ages.
“There’s no social networks or anything like that but we’ll definitely get it sorted after the fight!”