Josh Warrington open to Leigh Wood fight in Nottingham

Warrington will bid to become a two-time world champion at the First Direct Arena in his home city by beating Spain’s IBF title-holder Kiko Martinez

Mark Walker
Wednesday 23 March 2022 17:33
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Josh Warrington fights in Leeds on Saturday night (Martin Rickett/PA)
Josh Warrington fights in Leeds on Saturday night (Martin Rickett/PA)

Josh Warrington says he would be happy to fight WBA champion Leigh Wood in Nottingham if he can regain his IBF featherweight crown on Saturday.

Leeds boxer Warrington will bid to become a two-time world champion at the First Direct Arena in his home city by beating Spain’s IBF title-holder Kiko Martinez.

Warrington, 31, is hoping to regain the same title he vacated 14 months ago, while Nottingham’s Wood successfully defended his WBA crown by spectacularly knocking out Michael Conlan earlier this month.

When asked if he would take on a possible unification fight against Wood on the champion’s home turf, Warrington said: “Most definitely.

“Listen, I’d love to go and boot the doors down at the City Ground and take the balmy Leeds lot with us and beat him in his backyard.

“But let’s concentrate on Saturday night and we’ll go from there.”

Martinez, 36, unexpectedly won the title with a sixth-round knockout of Sheffield’s former champion Kid Galahad in November last year.

Warrington wore a rubber skull-cap at a media workout at Leeds Kirkgate Market on Wednesday in a bid to have a joke at the bald Martinez’s expense.

Josh Warrington, right, fights in Leeds on Saturday night (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Yorkshireman said: “There’s no need to be bad-mouthing Kiko Martinez. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, as a lot of fighters do.

“But he did have a little pop at my bar-cut fringe. He said I looked like Jim Carey, so I thought I’d have a little go back at him.”

Warrington has already beaten Martinez, by a majority decision five years ago at the same Leeds arena on his way to his first world title.

‘The Leeds Warrior’ became IBF world champion with a split-decision victory over Lee Selby at Elland Road in 2018 and successfully defended his title on three occasions.

Listen, I'd love to go and boot the doors down at the City Ground and take the balmy Leeds lot with us and beat him in his backyard

Josh Warrington on fighting Leigh Wood

He vacated his belt in January last year and suffered his first career loss the following month in a non-title fight against Mauricio Lara after over a year of inactivity.

Warrington’s last appearance was in a rematch against Lara at Headingley Stadium in September, which ended in a technical draw after the Mexican was cut above his left eye in an accidental clash of heads.

“Without even realising it, subconsciously, I probably took my eye off the ball in the first Lara fight and in the second one I wanted to put it right,” Warrington added.

“I obviously didn’t get the opportunity, but I learned a lot in that second fight – I am at the level and would have gone on to beat him and I felt very confident after the first round of doing that.”

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