At yesterday’s press conference at Leeds Museum, iFL TV asked Josh Warrington what he’d been up to lately.
“Not much,” said Josh. “I’ve just been plodding along, working, sorting a house out, just general life really.”
“That’s the most modest answer ever,” replied iFL. “You’ve just signed a five fight deal with Matchroom Sport, you’re on the cusp of fighting for a European title and you’re the humblest guy in the whole place.”
“Ah well,” said Josh. “I’m just Joshie from the block, the dentist. The boxing tooth fairy.”
The interviewer had a point, though: Josh’s next fight was a big enough announcement on its own, but at the Museum yesterday Eddie Hearn took things up a notch.
“We’re delighted to announce a five-fight deal with Josh Match Room that will see him, and us, make the First Direct Arena our home in Leeds,” he said. “Last time we were here, when he captured the British title, it was a Wednesday night and the atmosphere when he walked out with the fans was something very, very special and we can’t wait to return.”
Both Eddie and Josh paid tribute to the reaction in the city to the announcement of his next fight, a European title clash with Davide Diele on October 4th.
“The response we’ve had just through Josh’s pre-orders, before we’ve even gone on sale, has really, really shocked me,” said Eddie. "I’ve talked about Josh being a huge ticket seller and I always felt he was the biggest in the country. Now he’s gone to another level.
“You’re talking Ricky Hatton numbers for the personal sales he’s going to be doing for this fight, and the atmosphere is going to be completely off the wall: it’s going to be a mad, mad night at Leeds First Direct Arena.”
“I don’t even know who these people are,” said Josh of the 1,000 who have bought his tickets on pre-sale. “It’s built on since I’ve turned pro, I go out and spend time with people talking about the fight and dropping tickets out. I appreciate every single person that comes along.”
Josh has the opportunity to pick up the European title after it was vacated by Lee Selby, just as Selby left the Commonwealth and British titles for Warrington to pick up, and Eddie Hearn has his eyes on a future meeting between the two.
“Special thanks to Lee Selby, who I believe will be a future opponent of Josh Warrington for a World Title in time to come,” said Hearn. “Josh will be chasing him for that World Title in a big domestic fight in 2015.”
Josh isn’t willing to spend too long looking that far ahead, though.
“I’m taking every fight as it comes first, I can’t get too complacent and look down the line, because when you start doing that is when you start getting beat.”
Before a World Title fight can happen, the European title has to come to Josh Warrington on October 4th - and come to Leeds.
“Winning the European would be something else,” he said. "And Leeds have got a big thing about being European champions and all that stuff, so to bring a bit of European glory back to Leeds would be unbelievable. I’m really excited, putting that extra little bit in in training - October 4th can’t come quick enough.
“It’s been a crazy twelve months, it’s been happening so fast, but I keep taking these opportunities with both hands and keep pressing forward.”
You can get tickets for Josh Warrington v Davide Diele at Leeds First Direct Arena on Saturday October 4th from the Arena website or Matchroom.