Isolation allowing Josh Warrington to study hard for upcoming unification bout with Can Xu

WITH the majority of the nation on lockdown, Josh Warrington has been making the most of his time in isolation by studying his next opponent Can Xu in depth.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 12:18 pm
FOCUSED: Josh Warrington. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

The IBF world featherweight champion is hopeful that a unification fight with the WBA title holder will be able to go ahead at Emerald Headingley Stadium later this year.

With his next foe identified, Warrington is doing what he can to prepare for the potential featherweight unification bout.

Xu has lost two of his 20 professional fights and, while the Chinese boxer is not the most powerful puncher, he makes up for it with the speed in which he can throw shots.

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CHAMPION: Josh Warrington. Picture: Steve Riding.

However, Warrington has backed himself to beat Xu and become the first unified boxing champion from Leeds.

“I wouldn’t say he is the most technical. He has got a few inches on me in terms of height, and probably most featherweights, standing at 5ft 9in,” said Warrington.

“He has got a long reach as well. His main strength is his ability to throw so many punches.

“He admits himself that he doesn’t have the biggest punch power but what he doesn’t have in punch power he makes up in accumulation.

ISOLATION: Training for Josh Warrington. Picture: Steve Riding.

“That is one thing but he has been beaten.

“The lads who have beaten him have taken the fight to him and played him at his own game but done it much better.

“I just feel like, the way that I fight, and I can fight at a higher pace as well, he won’t be able to out-do me.”

Warrington’s trainer and father, Sean O’Hagan, has also been using the extra time to identify Xu’s strong and weak points.

Warrington added: “I know my dad has been watching plenty and writing plenty down.

“Every other night he has been sending me essays over text, on stuff we need to work on and the advantages and disadvantages he has got.

“I don’t want to work myself up too much that by the time the camp comes I am exhausted and bored of him. It is just about doing little bits here and there.”

With government restrictions banning the population from meeting people who live outside their own homes, Warrington has been forced to alter his training regime.

The Leeds Warrior is still able to do some work on his own but is unable to do any training with pads or partake in sparring bouts.

He continued: “I miss the lads in the gym and the banter and all that.

“I have just been going in and doing some bag work, skipping and shadowing.

“I have been setting myself out little circuits and then plenty of running to keep that fitness up. That is about it. I can’t do any pads or any sparring.

“I had started working with a new strength and conditioning coach over the last six-to-seven weeks.

“I was starting to get into his methods of training but, obviously, we can’t do anything until we get the all-clear and everything is good to be socialising again.”

Sparring regularly allows most professionals to maintain a better resistance to punches.

However, Warrington admits that he could begin to lose a bit of the resistance he has built up over the years the longer he is forced to train on his own.

He added: “It is a bit of weird feeling.

“As you are sparring regularly and competing regularly, the skin toughens and you get used to it.

“I don’t normally have too long a break from the sparring because I like to keep myself in the thick of it and make sure my punch resistance is high.

“At the start of the year I was sparring a few times a week, just doing a bit of technical sparring so you are ‘not losing too many brain cells’ but that has been pushed to one side now.

“I don’t think I will lose too much [resistance] in a few weeks but, if it starts getting into months and months, then it might be a different story.”

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