Josh Warrington laughed off talk about his motivation and branded Kid Galahad “stupid” after the Sheffield fighter questioned his hunger ahead of their IBF title clash.
Warrington hit back at claims from Galahad and trainer Dominic Ingle that a year as world champion had lowered his ambition as he readied himself for a second IBF defence.
The Leeds featherweight will attempt to retain the belt he won from Lee Selby last year at the First Direct Arena on Saturday night, returning to the venue which built his popularity and his reputation as a world-level boxer.
Warrington climbed to number two in the world rankings by beating Selby and Carl Frampton in scintillating fashion in 2018 but at a heated press conference yesterday, Galahad and Ingle suggested the 28-year-old had lost his edge as a result of his changed lifestyle.
Galahad, who is making his first world title shot, described victory this weekend as his “destiny” but Warrington dismissed those comments, saying: “Just because my lifestyle’s changed doesn’t mean I’m not as hungry. I’ve set myself new goals to unify the division. I look at Barry as an opponent to get past and then get on to other fights.
“It’s stupid of them to assume he’s hungrier than me. They keep talking about destiny but it’s not Barry’s time. He can believe it but it’s not his time.
“They talk about strength and punching power and boxing ability but look at my last two wins against Lee Selby and Carl Frampton. The title’s staying here. Experience shows that I deliver on the night.”
Warrington and Galahad both hold unbeaten records but Warrington’s performances last year, in two of the fights of 2018, opened to door for major unification bouts in the USA.
Galahad, however, is the IBF’s mandatory challenger and Warrington was forced to take him on in an all-Yorkshire clash after promoter Frank Warren failed to secure an immediate meeting with WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz.
Galahad said: “All the talking’s done and that belt’s coming back to Sheffield. It’s destiny. I’ve dreamed about this all my life.”
Ingle, the son of late Sheffield trainer Brendan, goaded Warrington by telling him he had beaten an “80 per cent Lee Selby and an 80 per cent Carl Frampton”.
“He (Galahad’s) a five-days-a-week trainer,” Ingle said. “He’s in bed at eight every night and up at five every morning.
“Kid Galahad’s got that hunger. He’s come from the poor streets of Sheffield. Josh Warrington hasn’t got the same hunger he had when he boxed Frampton and Selby. He’s the champion. Now he’s looking down at others trying to take it off him.”
Warrington replied: “The hunger hasn’t died one little bit. Just because my life’s changed doesn’t mean I’ll roll over and give my title away. It’s mine, I won it fair and square and no-one’s coming to Leeds and taking it off me.”