On the night of May 19, 2018, the life of Josh Warrington changed forever when he defeated the champion Lee Selby to win the IBF world featherweight title in front of some 25,000 fans at Elland Road, the home of Leeds United. Nearly two months on, Josh has had little opportunity to pause and reflect on his accomplishment due to being a man in demand, but he took time out to do just that in his latest Fighter Diary…
FIGHTER DIARY BY JOSH WARRINGTON
SINCE THAT NIGHT in May it has been pretty much non-stop for me. After a fight I normally give myself time to switch off – turn off my phone, social media and everything else. But I haven’t been able to this time.
Every weekend since the fight I seem to have had an event on, with it being either charity work or stuff for sponsors and it has been very busy with a lot of requests coming in.
Normally it calms down but it hasn’t this time and has kept on going. My belt is certainly doing the rounds and I show it off with pride, so I don’t mind at all.
I will have to have a few days off before I properly go back into camp because I do think you need to recharge your batteries mentally.
My whole life did change in the space of one night and, for the city of Leeds, we created history while, for myself, it was a hell of an achievement. I saw something earlier today about us having seven world champions in this country and obviously I am one of them, so that is a personal honour for me.
Everything fell into place for me at Elland Road, most definitely, and I don’t think that night could be replicated again. It was 26 years since the previous boxing show at Elland Road, I became Leeds’ first world champion, the Kaiser Chiefs came back to Elland Road, along with Lucas Radebe, the crowd were fantastic in backing a fight they had wanted for a long time – and even the weather was perfect!
I did my bit but, I have to say, everyone did me proud on the night. On a quiet evening I will close my eyes and try to relive it. You can watch it back as many times as you want, but by simply thinking about it through your own thoughts and what you saw with your own eyes is a different story.
There were times in the fight when I can remember just hearing the crowd chanting and cheering – they didn’t stop for the full 12 and were absolutely fantastic. They turned up in such numbers and made it even more memorable.
I’ve been asked if I fought the perfect fight and my answer is that I fought a winning fight. I spent most of the camp working on pressing and working inside, but with a week or two to go we looked on the side of boxing a little bit more and that seemed to be the key in the fight.
I remember going back to the corner in the second half of the fight asking my dad if it was time to start pressing and he just said to keep doing what I was doing because I was making it an easy night’s work.
It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, to be honest with you. I had to fight smart, we studied Lee a lot over the years, saw the bad habits he’s got and just exploited them. At the same time we tried not to give him any advantages to capitalise on.
When he is fighting a come forward fighter he always seems to do similar things and we tried to stay away from that and it all paid off.
I’ve got an open mind over what is next for me and I will leave it to my dad, Frank and Steve Wood to sort out, but 2018 would be even more incredible if the birth of my twin daughters is added to by beating who most people considered to be the two best featherweights in Britain in the same year.