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Warrington vows to smash Galahad in his bid for superstardom

 

Tension: Josh Warrington and Kid Galahad at the weigh-in
Tension: Josh Warrington and Kid Galahad at the weigh-in

By Mark Staniforth

Josh Warrington has his sights trained on broader horizons as he prepares to put his IBF featherweight title on the line against Yorkshire neighbour Kid Galahad in Leeds tonight.

Local pride means next to nothing to the unbeaten 28-year-old, who has thrust his way into the nine-stone big-time after hugely impressive wins over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton.

Rubbishing his opponent's proposal that he will lack hunger after reaching the pinnacle of his sport, Warrington insists Galahad is merely a stepping-stone to potential super-fights in Britain and abroad.

Warrington said: "I'm not interested in all this talk about a Leeds and Sheffield derby. I want to go down as a great fighter not just from Leeds or Yorkshire, but one of the great fighters of the featherweight division.

"When you beat Selby and Frampton you do ask yourself, 'where do I go from here?' but the answer is my mindset has changed. Galahad is the man in front of me, in the way of making all my dreams happen."

Galahad, also unbeaten, brings with him not only the elusive qualities of the famed Wincobank gym in his home town, but a close friendship with Naseem Hamed which he believes will count to his advantage.

Hamed is expected to be ringside to watch a fighter whom he motivated to first attend the gym then run by the late Brendan Ingle when Galahad - real name Abdul-Bari Awad - was just 13 years old.

Galahad intends to dedicate victory to Ingle, who died last year, insisting: "I would have done anything for Brendan and I can still hear him giving me the best advice even now.

"I spent most of my life with Brendan and I know that he will be looking down and watching me on Saturday night."

Warrington, who will start as favourite but can expected to be frustrated by Galahad's elusive style, dismissed his opponent's link with one of the finest British fighters of recent years.

"It's all right for him to go on about Naz but one of my favourite fighters was Marco Antonio Barrera, and we all know what happened when those two fought," said Warrington, referring to the Mexican's points win over Hamed in 2001.

"It's all right following someone's path and using someone as an inspiration. He's got a style like Naz but he hasn't got the same attributes. I've got the hunger and that is going to be the thing that makes the difference."

Meanwhile, BT Sport will screen Michael Conlan's grudge fight with Vladimir Nikitin at Falls Park in Belfast on August 3.

The show will also now be promoted by Frank Warren, who also promoted Conlan's previous homecoming fight against Adeilson dos Santos to a packed audience in the SSE Arena last July.

Conlan said: "I'm delighted to be working with Frank Warren, Queensberry Promotions and BT Sport again. They broadcasted my Belfast homecoming night and that was a special night. This promises to be even better.

"I'm determined to exact revenge on Nikitin and set a record straight on August 3 and I want as many people as possible watching me do just that."

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