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Josh Warrington explains how Michael Phelps has provided his inspiration in lead-up to Frampton fight

By David Kelly in the Sunday Life

Josh Warrington knows he is entering the deep end when defending his world title against Carl Frampton this Saturday night, so who better to take inspiration from than the greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps.

The 28-year-old upset the odds when taking the IBF featherweight crown from Lee Selby in May at Elland Road and again finds himself as the slight underdog despite being the champion.

But Warrington is confident his dedication will enable him to turn back the challenge of Frampton and throughout his training camp the Yorkshireman has been devouring the autobiography of Phelps.

“I look at all different sportsmen, I like to understand the mindset of champions, to understand how they push themselves like when they have bad days and everybody has bad days — how do they keep going, how do you keep bettering yourself,” said Warrington, speaking exclusively to Sunday Life.

“Reading the Michael Phelps autobiography ‘No Limits’ has been great and I have learned from it… it has been an inspiration and at the same time when you read how he has achieved so much and others at the top of the sport, there is one ting that they all do — they all graft really hard. You have to work.

“I’m always in the gym, I maintain my condition with my strength and conditioning fitness regime. I do five-and-a-half mile runs and the last two miles are all up hill. That pushes you.”

While some boxers will allow themselves to drift out of shape in between fights due to the need for a break after such an intensive regime, Warrington insists he takes a different approach.

“It’s important to keep my discipline in between fights because this doesn’t last forever. You wouldn’t see Cristiano Ronaldo walking round in pre season-training like a balloon. We’re professional athletes at the end of the day... yes we have to diet and have to be strict but once you’ve had one or two KFCs they get boring after a while.

“You have to think about what you’re in the sport to do. I’m in it to create a legacy and it’s a very short career compared to many other sports and especially in the featherweight division. You don’t see them go into their late 30s and close to 40.

“You have to live the life — look what someone like Floyd Mayweather has been able to do at the highest level for so long. It’s because he has lived the life, he is always in the gym and ever since I have got to title level that’s the way Ive been.”

As for defeating Frampton in only his first defence, Warrington is adamant that the timing of their clash could not be better.

“Even when the fight was first talked about a couple of my pals said I should just have a steady defence. The way I responded was to say there isn’t an easy defence at world level and if you think there is you are maybe taking your eye off the ball.

“Secondly, I want these fights to happen because I want to prove I’m the best and I want to be No.1 — I am ranked No.2 behind Carl and I want to be first because this is my year.”

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