Josh Warrington issues rallying call to Leeds fight fans

Josh Warrington admits that his IBF featherweight title fight against Kiko Martinez could be his last contest at the Leeds Arena – but he hopes that will prove to be a good thing.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 6:00 am

A victory on March 26 would send the Leeds Warrior back into contention for unification contests, after a difficult 12 months threatened to throw those plans off course.

Warrington lost to Mexican Mauricio Lara last February behind closed doors before returning to face him at Headingley in September.

That bout was ruled a technical draw after two rounds but last week it was announced that Warrington would get a shot to win back the IBF title he vacated at the beginning of last year.

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Josh Warrington hopes to repay his fans with victory over Kiko Martinez at the Leeds Arena. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

“It could potentially be the last time at the Leeds Arena. A win puts me back on top and in a position to get those big fights negotiated,” he told the YEP.

“Now I have got this chance to win the title back which gives me a bargaining tool for these other fights.

“I just want people to come and be part of it and make history with me.”

Warrington’s supporters are some of the loudest in the sport and he hopes to repay them with a win against Martinez after the anti-climatic nature of his draw with Lara last year.

Josh Warrington on the attack against Kiko Martinez the last time they met at the Leeds Arena. Picture: James Hardisty.

He added: “Walking to the ring and into that atmosphere, it switches me on. When I came off that podium at Headingley, I felt I could have beaten anyone.

“If you put Mike Tyson in the ring I could have bitten his ear off. I felt invincible, that is what the fans do for me.”

It will not be the first time that Warrington has faced Martinez at the Leeds Arena. The pair traded punches five years ago in a bout Warrington by a majority decision.

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