Josh Warrington is the pride of Leeds. He is the first boxer from the city to become a world champion in the ring.
Undefeated in 30 professional fights, his tale of a troubled upbringing is a familiar one for fighters. Expelled from school, Warrington not only resat his exams at his father and trainer’s urging but went on to graduate from the University of Leeds in 2013.
By then he had several fights under his belt after turning pro towards the end of 2009. Over the next three years, Warrington got plenty of in-ring experience in winning a dozen bouts of four or six rounds on points.
That run led to an English featherweight title opportunity which he seized. Warrington defeated Chris Male by unanimous decision and made two successful defences of the belt before becoming Commonwealth champ 12 months later.
Two fights later Warrington added the British featherweight belt to his collection when taken a full 12 rounds by Martin Lindsay. He then completed the set of regional titles with a fourth-round TKO of Davide Dielli for the vacant European strap.
All but one of Warrington’s first 18 fights came against fellow British boxers, but at this point he begun to face international opposition. The WBC international featherweight title was next with a unanimous decision victory over Dennis Tubieron of the Philippines.
The serious upward curve Warrington was on caught the attention of boxing promoter Frank Warren. He had previously been signed to Matchroom, but split with Eddie Hearn in 2016 yet returned to his stable in 2020.
After victories over Patrick Hyland, Kiko Martinez and Dennis Ceylan – all fights that he was a strong favourite in the boxing betting to win – the clamour for a world title shot was massive. Warrington would have his chance.
Wales’ Lee Selby, who fought some of the same opponents as Warrington on his own road to the top, made four successful defences of the IBF featherweight title after winning it in 2015. He then put that belt on the line against Warrington inside a partisan Elland Road on 19 May 2018.
YouTube: Lee Selby VS Josh Warrington Full Fight Highlights HD
The two British boxers split the judges, but Selby’s three-year reign with the strap ended with Warrington declared the winner in his hometown. He had fought in Leeds many times before in the First Direct Arena, but this crowning glory in the ground of his beloved United was a defining moment of his career.
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How could Warrington top that? He could’ve taken an easy fight, but instead faced two-weight world champion and popular Northern Irish boxer Carl Frampton in a much-anticipated battle of Britain.
Warrington defended his IBF featherweight title with another unanimous decision win in a fight that really lived up to the hype. Since that big victory, he has had two further fights.
Seek and destroy 😤
Josh Warrington had Sofiane Takoucht's head rolling with two knockdowns and a stoppage in a minute 🔥
What a performance from The Leeds Warrior 🙌 pic.twitter.com/6gtr97lFtG
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) October 13, 2019
A split decision win over Kid Galahad and early second-round TKO of French boxer Sofiane Takoucht mean Warrington has now made three successful world title defences. He’s not yet 30 either and still has plenty more bouts in him, so expect Warrington to continue to represent Leeds well.