Shock as Josh Warrington fight won’t be staged at Emerald Headingley

Emerald Headingley has been rejected as the venue for Josh Warrington’s planned world title re-match with Mauricio Lara.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 5:54 pm
Dethroned: Leeds Warrior Josh Warrington, left, was hoping to stage his IBF world featherweight title rematch against Mauricio Lara at Emerald Headingley. Picture: Dave Thompson

The YEP understands Leeds City Council have turned down the bid to host the fight at the iconic stadium on September 4.

Warrington – who suffered a surprise loss to little-known Mexican Lara at Wembley Arena in February – was looking forward to fighting in his home city again.

He initially won the IBF world featherweight title from Lee Selby at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground in 2018.

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Shocked: Leeds Rhinos chief Gary Hetherington is disappointed by Leeds City Council's decision not to allow the Warrington rematch to be held at Headingley.

After a first defeat of his career, the 30-year-old was seeking to reclaim the title at Headingley which can hold up to 25,000 boxing fans.

Last month, Warrington’s promoter Eddie Hearn said plans were at an advanced stage. When approached to comment, Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “This has come as a shock and huge disappointment.

“So much work has gone on behind the scenes to bring the Warrington re-match back to Leeds and I suspect Eddie Hearn may now look to take the fight to another city.

“I know Josh will be very disappointed, too. I will now meet with colleagues to consider the full ramifications of this decision by Leeds City Council and consult with other stakeholders. Both Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club recently invested £46m in the redevelopment of Emerald Headingley and our business plan relies on attracting other major events.

“And, as other businesses in Headingley and the city are all trying to recover from the past 12 months, this decision does nothing to support them.”

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “The committee noted steps the stadium had proposed to take to reduce public nuisance and disorder and to promote the licensing objectives.

“However the events proposed were very different in nature and duration, finishing at 11pm, compared to regular events at the venue and the noise was likely to last longer into the night significantly impacting local residents, including children. The stadium now has the right to appeal this decision.”