LEEDS warrior Josh Warrington says boxing fans are in for a rare treat at this Saturday’s ‘Leeds Rumble’ at First Direct Arena – with Warrington’s clash against Patrick Hyland the icing on the cake.
Warrington looked destined to lock horns with IBF featherweight world champion Lee Selby but instead takes on Irish challenger Hyland in the third defence of his WBC International featherweight crown.
Warrington had hoped to fight Selby at Elland Road and when negotiations to secure the venue fell through, the Leeds boxer was offered a last-gasp opportunity to fight Selby at the Arena in July.
Warrington, who will marry his fiancée Natasha Lynch in three weeks’ time, wanted more time and suggested fighting Selby at the end of the year.
The Welshman – with a now or never approach – now says that eagerly-awaited showdown will not happen, but Warrington says fans are still in for a treat at First Direct arena tomorrow on a card where Hull’s London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell takes second billing in fighting Argenis Mendez for the vacant WBC Silver lightweight title.
Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse also defends his British Super-Lightweight title against Hull’s Tommy Coyle – brother of Leeds United right-back Lewie – while Birmingham talent Gamal Yafai defends his Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight title against Barnsley’s Josh Wale. Ryan Burnett, Frankie Gavin, Sam Eggington and Dillian Whyte are also in action.
“Obviously it’s a good night out, not just to watch the fight but to have a good night,” said Warrington.
“And this time around it is one hell of a show. We have got fights from the first bell until the last, some good talent and some top Yorkshire talent as well. For all of those boxing fans out there, they are in for a right treat.”
Warrington will again be yelled on by his loyal legion of fans, many of whom share his passion for Leeds United FC.
Warrington’s opponent, Hyland, supports Manchester United and joked on social media that he would turn up wearing a Red Devils shirt.
“I don’t think he will do,” laughed Warrington. “I don’t think I would and I don’t think he will do when he sees all the fans and what not. I wouldn’t do if I was him for the sake of himself! His family are big Leeds United fans and Patrick is a very respectable fighter. He’s never said any bad words about us – he respects the level we are at and it’s the same with me. I know he is a very tough fighter so I am not expecting an easy fight at all. We have trained hard and I hope we can do the business on Saturday.”
Warrington will then have other very important business to attend to in three weeks’ time when he ties the knot to his long-term girlfriend Natasha. The Leeds ace suggested earlier this year that he would have a stag do in Ibiza to which all of his fans were invited, but those plans have now hit the buffers.
“It’s not going to happen is it,” sighed Warrington. “My stag do will be going out for a pint with Patrick after the fight – that will be it. The wedding is three weeks on Saturday. It’s hectic but if I just stay focused on the boxing – that’s all I can do. I’ll save the stag do until I fight for a world title.
“If I win a world title we will do the celebrations then.”