Batley gym provides ideal base for Warrington's world title defence

Josh Warrington makes the first defence of his IBF World featherweight title when he meets Carl Frampton in a mouthwatering clash at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 8:49 am
IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington with trainer and dad Sean OHagan at Dickys Gym in Batley as they prepare to take on Belfasts Carl Frampton in Manchester on Saturday. Pictures: Steve Riding

Warrington upset the odds to capture the crown with victory over Welshman Lee Selby at Elland Road in May and he is out to cause another upset by defeating Belfast’s Frampton.

Warrington has just completed his training camp and as with each of his title successes — from English, British, Commonwealth, European, WBC interim and finally the world title — Josh has used Dicky’s Gym in Batley as the base for his camp.

Under the tutelage of dad and trainer Sean O’Hagan, Warrington has based himself at the Hick Lane gym since 2012.

It is a tried and trusted system which has taken Warrington from small hall shows to the pinnacle of world featherweight boxing.

Nobody could argue with the bond Warrington and O’Hagan share, although the Leeds Warrior admits there have been many people throughout his career who have suggested he should split the father-son partnership.

O’Hagan joked: “I’ve winged it. British, Commonwealth, European, IBF world title. All of that. We’ve winged it, haven’t we?”

As Warrington put the finishes touches to his training camp last week, he reflected on an unbeaten 27 fight career which has taken him to the small hall shows to fighting at the home of his beloved Leeds United and capturing the world title.

Warrington said: “It pains me to say it but even after we have arguments I have to put my hands up and say ‘I do want you as my trainer.’

“Over the years people have said to me ‘yeah, but for the next level you need someone else. Your dad doesn’t have the experience’. No-one expected us to get this far but how can you fault what we’ve done?

“What he says to me has always made sense. He simplifies things. Some trainers I listen to don’t make sense. They get too technical.

“It’s like that one minute between rounds when you’re on the stool and you need something clear, a simple instruction and that’s it.

The canvas from the ring in which Warrington recorded victory over Selby is now at Dicky’s Gym — a reminder each time he steps through the ropes for a training session of the most memorable night of his boxing career.

Last month, Amazon realised a film, Fighting For a City, chartering the last three years of Warrington’s career, which culminated in his memorable world title win over Selby.

The film paints O’Hagan as the observational brain behind a gutsy, all-or-nothing boxer and the pair like the fact that they were never supposed to get this far.

Warrington added: “We’re not smug about it but proud, definitely.

“At the end of the day, and I say this all the time, I’m off the LS9 estate. I could have ended up as a glue sniffer.

“People doubted me and I’ve heard many saying through the grapevine ‘he’ll be lucky to get the British title, and not with his dad behind him’. It’s gone like that all the way to a world title. Same old, same old. We just plod away, doing what we’ve always done.”