LEIGH WOOD and Josh Warrington are chasing very different goals ahead of their fight on October 7.
The two British featherweights will meet for Wood’s WBA strap at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield. Both fighters are well supported, and the venue will likely be filled with 50 per cent Wood fans and 50 per cent Warrington. Throw in their links to their favourite football clubs Nottingham Forest and Leeds United and you have a recipe for a crackling atmosphere and a potentially busy night for the security team.
Earlier today in Leeds the first of two press conferences took place with the second happening in Nottingham later this evening. The two teams were respectful throughout both acknowledging each other’s achievements and character.
The winner of the October 7 encounter will hope to achieve something that has been on their minds for some time.
“It’s a fight I must win,” Wood said.
“My dream fight’s around the corner. I told a few people I weren’t gonna sign this fight unless I had that clause in there. I don’t want to go into details because it’s confidential, but that City Ground clause is in there. I need to beat Josh Warrington [on] October 7.”
A devoted fan of Nottingham Forest Wood has long dreamed of fighting outdoors at one of English football’s historic venues. Wood, who celebrates his 35th birthday today and received a cake from Warrington during the presser, was hoping that his fight against ‘The Leeds Warrior’ would take place at the City Ground. However, with the kick-off of the Premier League around the corner his dreams were temporarily ended. The club’s owners expressed concerns about the state of the pitch after a boxing event while in the middle of a season.
‘Leigh-thal’ spoke of his struggles while trying to land a breakthrough fight many years ago. Perseverance and work ethic has turned a sad story into a successful one. Wood now takes motivation from having worked so hard to turn his career around.
“There’s so much on the line for me, I’ve worked too hard,” Wood said.
“I’ve come from rock bottom to get here. I’m one fight away. It’s always the next fight is the City Ground. It’s in there, it’s in writing. The next fight’s the City Ground.”
Warrington is used to being at or near the top of the featherweight division. In the last five years Lee Selby, Carl Frampton, Kid Galahad and Kiko Martinez have all lost to the Yorkshireman. The 32-year-old is looking to become a three-time title holder at 126lbs. Last time out Luis Alberto Lopez just got the better of him before going on to emphatically beat Michael Conlan.
Winning a belt for a third time has been stuck in his head according to Warrington. And the dream of fighting in America remains for himself and his army of fans from Leeds who make him one of the best-supported fighters in Britain.
“It’s been 10 years we’ve been headlining shows and they still following me like it’s my first one,” Warrington said paying tribute to his fanbase.
“They still believe I can be back on stop, they still believe we can have those big away days in the States so they’re fully behind me and they’re licking their lips at the away day down to Sheffield so it’s gonna be a hell of a atmosphere. This is a business but it’s also drama and this is what people are going to be tuning into. They’re going to see a noisy atmosphere, they want to see two lads going at it in the ring and October 7 that’s what we’re gonna see, fireworks.
“Got full respect for Leigh. I shook his hand back in February after the Lara defeat and said to him we’ll fight eventually and we’re here. It’s an opportunity to get myself back on top and I only see myself winning and my hand being raised.”
Their face-off mirrored part one of their press tour. Civil, smiles, a few words and then at the end a handshake. On October 7 though they will look to inflict as much damage on one another to fulfil their ambitions.