Josh Warrington inspired by Leigh Wood's 'Rock Balboa' performance against Michael Conlan ahead of all British world title clash

The all British featherweight clash between Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington was finally announced yesterday ahead of a double press conference in each of the fighter's respective cities.

The bout heads to neutral-ish ground in the city of Sheffield, 43 miles from Warrington’s Leeds and 45 miles from Wood’s Nottingham. The pair will duel for Wood’s WBA featherweight world title he won back in a rematch with Mauricio Lara in May.

Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs) comes off a majority-decision defeat where he lost his IBF crown to Lis Alberto Lopez. Reports and comments from promoter Eddie Hearn have veered in the direction of Warrington being in the final stages of his career. Today he refuted those claims.

“It has been a long career for myself.” Warrington said in the Nottingham leg of today’s press conference. “I do feel in these latter stages of my career that I am at my peak. I know I didn’t show too much of that in my last fight with Luis Alberto Lopez, who has since gone on to look like a dangerous man. I had my own reasons for not looking my best in the last fight. But prior to that we have recaptured the world title. This has been knocking on the door for ten years now, being at the top level.

“I done nothing but fight the big names. Some may call it an old school way of going about things, going the long way round. I never had any big backing, I didn’t come off the Olympic squad or anything like that.”

Warrington has a chance to become a three-weight world champion if successful in Sheffield. Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) has risen through the ranks in a similar manner to Warrington, working his way through the national and regional titles in a career that he wasn’t expected to become world champion.

“Leigh has done something similar, he has gone the hard route as well.” Warrington continued. “What a fight to have, two domestic lads meeting on the world stage. It has all the ingredients for a fantastic fight. But it is just one that I feel I have been here a little bit longer, more experienced at this level. I look forward to becoming a three-weight world champion on September 7th.”

On paper, the bout does have all the necessary elements for a great all domestic world title fight, which has seen nothing but respect for each other by both men.

“It is very entertaining on the eye.” He said shortly after. “We both want it, we are both just fighting for our people, both with full support behind us. Leigh and Ben [Davison] will come up with a game plan. They are very strict when they are going through the game plans and stuff, as are we.”

Warrington’s passionate Leeds fanbase is revered as the best in the land. The atmosphere in Sheffield promises to be raucous.

“When that atmosphere comes up, and the noise in there will make you ship a punch and you can’t help being drawn into it.” He added. “All I see is a Josh Warrington finish. We are both going to give it our all in there. He’s got a massive heart, that fight with Michael Conlan was inspiring stuff. Rocky Balboa stuff. I have to say, if I put him down? I’m closing the show.”