Leeds boxer Josh Warrington wants to follow in Ricky Hatton’s footsteps in USA

Josh Warrington with his team
Josh Warrington with his team
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Josh Warrington hopes to emulate Ricky Hatton’s success in the United States after winning his 10th fight at the First Direct Leeds Arena on Saturday night.

The ‘Leeds Warrior’ retained his IBF Featherweight title with a stunning second-round knockout of challenger Sofiane Takoucht.

The 28-year-old’s next fight is likely to be at Elland Road but Warrington has ambitions of fighting in the US. Six of Hatton’s final eight fights took place in America, with the Manchester-born fighter taking thousands of fans across the Atlantic to support him.

“I loved Ricky, I grew up watching him and I had the pleasure on many occasions of meeting him,” said Warrington.

“Me and my old fella used to watch Ricky on our chipped cable box on his road to glory. To watch him was an inspiration, really. He is just a council estate kid, who done really well and had a hell of a following. And if we could emulate some of the nights he had over in the States later in my career then that would be great.”

Warrington believes that his support base is beginning to grow as he eyes a unification bout in 2020.

The IBF Featherweight champion hopes that winning another belt early next year will give him the opportunity to fight in North America.

“I have always had a lot of support in Leeds and it is getting bigger and bigger,” he added.

“I think because I have associated with Leeds United that people think my support is only Leeds fans.

“Since I have beat Lee Selby and Frampton, the fanbase is getting bigger.

“And I think once we get one of them big names, then I could become a some sort of national hero and then we can go travelling.”

Warrington’s promoter Frank Warren has hailed the Leeds fighter as the best featherweight in the world.

Warren was formerly the promoter of Ricky Hatton, overseeing his rise to IBF Light Welterweight Championship in 2005.

Warren said: “Josh is handful for anyone. He is the best in his weight division in the world.”

On the difference between Hatton and Warrington, Warren added: “There are certain comparisons there but I think the difference is that he is a consummate professional. Ricky and I had a tremendous relationship but it is no secret that Ricky used to party but Josh looks after himself.”

Warrington’s win over Takoucht took his pro record to 30-0. He now wants a unification fight, with Gary Russell Junior and Can Xu firmly on his radar.