Financial security is the spur for Josh Warrington's world title bid

LEEDS boxer Josh Warrington will fulfil a long-term plan when stepping out for tonight's IBF featherweight world title showdown at Elland Road.

Saturday, 19th May 2018, 6:00 am
Josh Warrington weighs-in at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday.

Asked three years ago on Soccer AM how he envisaged a perfect world title fight, Warrington admitted he would have the bout at a packed Elland Road, walking out to I Predict A Riot performed by the Kasier Chiefs and accompanied by Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe for his ring walk.

Every box is ticked; the stuff of dreams as the 27-year-old prepares to take on defending champion Lee Selby.

Yet new dad Warrington says his ultimate ambition is to financially support the future of his family with the Leeds star admitting that defeating Selby and becoming world champion will bring the really big pay days in the years to come.

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Josh Warrington and Lee Selby at Elland Road.

Lifelong Leeds United fan Warrington will swap his usual place in the Elland Road terraces for a starring role on the pitch this evening as the undefeated fighter takes on Welshman Selby in a bid to become IBF featherweight champion of the world.

The bout is the centrepiece of a fine card that also features Leeds’ double Olympic champion Nicola Adams taking in the fourth fight of her new career as a professional against Argentina’s Soledad del Valle Frias.

Leeds super-bantamweight Jack Bateson will have the fourth fight of his pro career against Spain’s Jose Hernandez while fellow Leeds fighter Jack Daniel will take in just his second fight as a pro against fellow super-featherweight Zigurds Krauklis of Latvia.

Warrington, meanwhile, is already approaching the 27th fight of his professional career with the Yorkshireman having turned pro back in October 2009 and yet to taste defeat.

Having worked his way up the featherweight ranks to have claimed the English, British, Commonwealth, EBC and WBC international titles, continued victories have put Warrington into the position of mandatory challenger for a shot at a belt that Selby has held since May 2015. The Welshman has since successfully defended his title four times but Warrington now has his eyes on the prize in terms of not just the belt itself but the associated riches that will go with it – and not for himself.

Warrington’s wife Natasha gave birth to twin girls 12 weeks ago and Warrington told the YEP: “It’s not about me, it’s not about my position. It’s about the future of my family and winning that world title takes us on to the next stage of life.

“I’m fighting at Elland Road but I am not going to get millions and millions from it even though people think I might – I’m the challenger.

“But winning here and being a world champion after that, that’s when it brings the big pay days and everything else and that’s when I can financially secure the family.

“Having our little girls is fantastic. People might look at it and say that’s a distraction but for me it’s been nice to come home from training each day, putting my body through hell on the night and walking in and seeing their little faces and smiles. When the going gets tough in the latter rounds and certain thoughts and feelings enter your mind, then things like that will come into it.

“When you need to find a little tiny ounce of energy just to get them arms going again, then little things like that will do it.

“I have always talked about building an empire because I am the eldest out of my three brothers, I’ve got a brother with special needs and I’ve got a sister who is autistic as well. I know that maybe down later in life they might need some help and I’d love to be in a position to be able to financially help them in life as well as my own immediate family.”

With Warrington keen to keep boundaries between his life as a boxer and a dad, the 27-year-old temporarily kissed farewell to his daughters yesterday and the proud dad will be reunited with the twins on Sunday morning. If Warrington has his way, they will be greeted with a new belt. He admitted: “Prior to them being born, I had a dream one night of being laid on the sofa with the world title there and babies by my side.”

Radebe, the Kaiser Chiefs and Elland Road will already help fulfil three other big dreams tonight and now that all remains is to win.

Asked how he saw the fight concluding, Warrington said simply: “A Josh Warrington win. I just see myself winning and that’s it. It doesn’t matter how it comes, especially with this one.

Assessing the merits of Selby, Warrington added: “To be honest there have been many times where I have thought I can knock him out. He’s not the most defensive fighter in the world and I thought with a couple of clean shots we’d be all right. But as long as I get the win, that’s all that matters to me.”