Warrington could face unification fight at Headingley

Josh Warrington and Eddie Hearn at the press conference held at Headingley Stadium.
Josh Warrington and Eddie Hearn at the press conference held at Headingley Stadium.

Josh Warrington could face a world title unification fight at Headingley Stadium this summer.

In a dramatic turn of events this week, Warrington left Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions to re-join Matchroom Boxing.

Warrington was unveiled by Matchroom at a press conference held at Headingley this afternoon (Thursday), where promoter Eddie Hearn vowed to bring unification fights to Leeds.

Warrington has based himself at Dicky’s Gym in Batley since 2012 and has taken the long route to World Title glory, winning the English, British, Commonwealth and European titles on his way to a 30-0 record.

Warrington went on to win the IBF World Featherweight Title, beating Lee Selby at Elland Road in May 2018, during his time under Warren’s banner but the 29-year-old felt the time was right to return to Matchroom.

Hearn has promised to deliver some of the biggest names in the featherweight division with the likes of Gary Russell Junior, Leo Santa Cruz, Can Xu and Shakur Stevenson among the names being mentioned as Warrington’s next opponent - with Headingley a likely venue.

Speaking at today’s press conference, Hearn said: “For me, the absolute focus for Josh Warrington has to be now the unification fights.

“He’s been there, he’s done it, he’s seen it all. Now it’s time to have the major unification fights here in Leeds.

“You look at the champions, Gary Russell, Leo Santa Cruz, Can Xu and Shakur Stevenson. They’ve all been on the phone and I sent Josh a direct message from Gary Russell, saying ‘Let’s go, we’re ready.’

“For me the unification fight is the absolute target over the next week or two weeks to try and finalise. We’ve already spoken to the guys at Headingley and we want to do it there.

“(Headingley) has even got some standing as well. As if the atmosphere wasn’t mad enough. Get them up there, it’s going to be incredible.”

“There is the possibility of the American fight as well but right now, the absolute priority - unification fights in Leeds and that is the aim for us this summer.”

Warrington admits unifying the division is his ambition and fighting at the home of Leeds Rhinos would tick another box in his career.

He said: “Gary Russell Jr, I think he’s the second-longest reigning champion out of all of the champions. He’s got a green and gold belt as well, the WBC or there’s Shakur Stevenson and either one of those fights are massive fights.”