Warrington starting to feel like Wood rematch might not happen

Josh Warrington is ready for a little more action and a little less conversation.

It has been four months since Leigh Wood turned back Warrington’s spirited challenge in the Manchester Arena in one of the best fights of 2023.

Warrington was ahead on points, but Wood found the punches to undo the Leeds man’s world in the seventh round, crowing yet another thrilling Leigh Wood comeback.

Warrington wants the chance to set things right. Wood seemingly wants it again to put the feud to bed, and while a fight at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground is a natural – with Wood a Forest fan and Warrington bringing his army of Leeds football supporters – the fighters remain in a holding pattern while logistics of a possible May fight are ironed out.

“It seems to be the case,” admitted Warrington, of having to wait. “Matchroom has done everything they could do. They told me my name was the frontrunner [for Wood], and now it’s down to Nottingham Forest [to make a decision]. I have been told it’s apparently down to security and they have worries about the fans so it’s basically all down to that. As time goes on, I start to feel that the fight will likely not happen.”

It seems to make sense to have it at the City Ground, but if the venue cannot be secured, the fight might not be on at all. Warrington and his fans are required to make the night what it could be, but Warrington does not want to miss out.

“It’s what Leigh is stating, that is what he seems to be saying in his interviews, ‘If I don’t fight Josh at Notts Forest, then I don’t want to fight Josh, the business has been done, and I want to leave it at that’,” Warrington added. “[And] to a certain extent, what he is saying is true. 

“However, there is a big dark cloud over it [the first fight]. The way it was stopped was controversial. I feel he only wants to fight at the City Ground because he knows he won't fill it [without Warrington]. He needs a dance partner who has some support behind him, and obviously that would be me.

“He says that he can look for other opportunities if he doesn't fight me, but I don't know where those opportunities are for him because everybody else in the super-featherweight division is all tied up. I know he mentioned himself with [Emanuel] Navarrete at one point, but he has now moved up to lightweight as well. In terms of boxing, I’m sure he will want to make some pound notes out of it, and this is the fight for him.”

Warrington is 33-years-old and he has been hurt by inactivity. He did not box in 2020, boxed twice in 2021 and twice in 2022 and just once last year, against Wood. That’s been his only fight for about 15 months, and there’s nothing in the diary.

Also, since fighting Wood, bad blood has manifested itself between the pair. Warrington claims he was winning and could have fought on, Wood alleges there is no way Warrington could have.

“Ever since our fight, I think he has been searching for more credit for beating me, but the credit has not been there because of how the fight ended,” Warrington stated. “I think he would be able to cement his beliefs by having a rematch with me.”

It has, Warrington admits, become personal.

“I just don’t fucking get him, I will be honest with you, I don’t get him,” lamented Warrington. 

“Listen, I don’t know if things would be different when careers are all said and done. Even when I boxed someone like Lee [Selby], I kinda got what Lee Selby’s character was, but not Leigh Wood. I feel he is a similar character to me. When I boxed Lee Selby, he was a c*** to my face and a c*** to me off-camera. Leigh Wood is just the other way around. He doesn't say anything, and he's quite pleasant, but then he gets on camera and starts shouting off. I don't know; sometimes, people play the game a little bit. Maybe I am just a little bit too serious about the game. We shook each other's hands last time, as it didn't need any bad mouthing. Since that, he has done nothing but gloat and call me sour and bitter. I have only been answering questions that I am getting asked. Do I think the fight was controversial? Yes, I do. I thought I was boxing really well until the point off and the stoppage in the seventh round. He said I gave him no credit. Yeah, I have to give him credit. I said he fucking punches hard, has great timing, has a massive set of bollocks on him, and he comes forward. [But] He got his arse handed to him until that seventh round. A champion would say, or I would say, ‘You know what, it wasn’t going my way, but a champion’s resilience and a champion always finds a way to win. I managed to pull out a shot from the gods, and that’s what champions do, so fair play to Josh’. But there has been nothing like that from him. It’s always been, ‘Oh, it was part of the plan because Josh gets reckless late on’. Don’t give me that shit, man. Don’t give me the shit that you meant to get your fucking head boxed off for fucking six rounds until the ref gave you a bit of leeway.”