Belfast's Martin Lindsay is my toughest test so far: Warrington
Josh Warrington is a young man on the rise and he is adamant that Belfast's Martin Lindsay will not stand in his way when they clash for the British and Commonwealth featherweight titles tomorrow night.
Unbeaten Warrington will have home advantage in the First Direct Arena in Leeds for what he accepts is his toughest test against Lindsay – a former holder of the Lonsdale belt which was recently vacated by Lee Selby.
Since losing to Selby 15 months ago, 32-year-old Lindsay has only had a solitary routine victory – 10 days ago – while Warrington has seen his career take off with the backing of Matchroom boxing boss Eddie Hearn.
"The last six months have been a bit surreal," said Warrington. "After beating Rendall Munroe, I had only just got off my stool as he retired and they were asking me if I was ready for May 21. It's come round really fast but I'm fully focused on it and I want to take these opportunities with both hands and I am ready to do so.
"It's been a mad six months winning the Commonwealth title in Hull, defending it against a great fighter like Rendall and now defending it again with the British title on the line against another big name in Martin, but I'm the type of fighter that will fight anyone out in front of me.
"If they had said do you want to fight for the European title I would say yes. World title? Yes. Fighting the big names in 50-50 fights brings the best out of me and also it's what the viewers want to see. British boxing is in a great place at the moment and we need to capitalise on that, people don't want to see fighters in boring fights where one man can't win, they want the 50-50 ones and this will be a great fight."
At 23, Warrington is nine years younger than Lindsay and the Leeds man believes that could well be a factor over the 12 rounds.
"Lindsay has been around quite a while now, he was British champion but that was a few years back so I think me being younger could be a factor, though he knows what it takes to be a champion," added Warrington.
"I've heard that he is a strong puncher and is there for the 12 rounds but I've had some great sparring and I'm ready for him. I think my best attributes are my workrate and my accuracy. I have a couple of game plans for Wednesday night and you'll see that."
A life-long Leeds United supporter, Warrington says that it is good to give his growing fan-base something to cheer about.
"It's been tough for the fans following Leeds over the past 10 years so I like the fact I can give them some good times.
"It's an honour to be called the flag-bearer for boxing in Leeds. I'm a proud Leeds lad and I love everything about the city, hopefully I can become like Ricky Hatton was to Manchester and I hope we keep coming back for big boxing shows in the city more and more.
"I've noticed that with every fight there is more and more interest and it's certainly going to be noisy on Wednesday.
"I think Lindsay will be in for a hot reception but at this level it shouldn't really affect a fighter and not one with his experience.
"The pressure will spur me on. I've driven past the Arena pretty much every day since it's been built and they did a little animation of what the place would look like with events going on and boxing was a part of it and I thought 'wow, I'd love to box in there' and now I am. It's a dream come true.
"My first goal when I turned pro was to become the British champion and then I can start thinking about the European or World title."