Leeds’ Josh Warrington now holds both the Commonwealth and British featherweight titles after outboxing Martin Lindsay at First Direct Arena last night.
Backed by a partisan hometown crowd, Josh claimed the coveted Lonsdale belt with a unanimous 119–110 score from all three judges.
The fight came just four weeks after Warrington’s first defence of his Commonwealth title against Rendall Munroe in Manchester, but that was all the time it took to assemble a big crowd for a Wednesday bout at the Arena.
The short time since his last fight also seemed to contribute to Warrington’s sharpness in this, as he came out quickly from the first bell to dominate 32 year old Lindsay, who struggled to handle him in the early stages.
Lindsay’s experience brought him back into contention in the fifth round, as he slowed the fight down to a more manageable pace. But that also allowed Warrington to take a breather and come back harder in the sixth, taking his opponent to the ropes in the seventh with quick combination punches from all angles.
Warrington landed 149 punches compared to Lindsay’s 68, but the older fighter’s resilience kept him going to the end, despite there being little question of who would be the winner by the closing stages.
The last rounds were an exercise in concentration for Warrington, who stayed clear of the threat of a knock-out punch from Lindsay even as Marching on Together rang out from the Leeds crowd around him.
Immediately after the fight, Josh took the microphone to thank the crowd; wearing both the Commonwealth and Lonsdale belts he said, “It was your noise and your atmosphere that kept me going through that fight, and pulled me through to the final bell.”
Speaking to Sky Sports a few moments later, Josh said, “I’m living the dream. When I first turned pro this is what I set out to do and I’ve done it, in Leeds, in front of an amazing crowd tonight. Words can’t describe it.”
He also paid tribute to his opponent, describing Martin Lindsay as, “Hard as they come - I hit him with some good shots, and clean. There’s not many that would keep coming like he did, and full credit to him.”
A double-champion and just 23 years old, Josh’s future’s is becoming the subject of more discussion, with options for title defences and shots at European belts ahead of him. Promoter Eddie Hearn promised the Leeds crowd that they would be coming back in September or October, “On a Saturday night to do something very special,” but after six months Josh described this week as “a whirlwind,” he told Sky Sports that his priorities are elsewhere for now.
“First of all I think I might have a little rest - get myself to the seaside and get some fish and chips after two fights in quick succession. But definitely after the summer I’ll look to keep hold of it.” Josh was also asked about whether he’d be going back to his day job as a dental technician: “I think so, yeah,” he said. “I’ll get back to making teeth on Monday.”
Josh was certain he still has further to go with boxing, though. “I’ll take every fight as they come. I set out to win the British title and I’ve done that, and I do think I’ve got a lot more to give. We’ll see how far I can go, but I definitely think I can go all the way. Why not?”