By Frank Warren
NONE OF US, probably least of all Lee Selby, can accurately imagine what we are about to experience at Elland Road on Saturday night.
The atmosphere leading up to and when Josh Warrington ventures from the tunnel to the ring on the centre circle at his hometown club is simply going to be off the charts.
Josh’s loyal and ever-increasing band of followers make a big enough din at the local FD Arena, so what 25,000-odd of them will sound like at a football ground is really going to be something else – and I can’t wait to be part of such a huge night for the city of Leeds.
Josh is bidding to become the first world champion to hail from the city, so history is there for the making and I know he will give his absolute all to make this become a reality.
But he has a great champion standing between him and what he believes is his destiny. Lee has been putting in the hard graft over in the States and, don’t forget, it is this sort of occasion that he too has craved for many years and is well deserving of after making five defences of the IBF world featherweight title he won in May 2015.
So we have two guys in peak condition and this one has got great fight written all over it – especially as the styles should gel so well.
Josh is going in as the betting underdog but, as we know, odds don’t win fights and it wouldn’t be an upset to me if his arm is raised in triumph at the conclusion. I have seen his commitment to it and what he has put in.
I take my hat off to Lee for going into Josh’s fortress. However, I believe in my man and I think he will emerge with the spoils.
I have been asked how I suspect it will all play out and, for me, it will come down to workrate and Josh has got a fantastic engine. It will be a case of jumping on Lee as soon as that bell goes, making him work and keeping him at it for every second of every round.
I truly believe the fans are going to be in for a treat. We all know Lee is a top fighter and so is Josh – so it is going to be tough night for both of them.
The Kaiser Chiefs will predict a riot when they set the scene before the main event. I predict a special night and a home win at Elland Road.
The night will primarily be all about Lee and Josh, but there are a good few other scraps on the schedule that could well steal the show beforehand.
Mason Cartwright v Darren Tetley for the WBO European welterweight title should be a cracking encounter between two unbeaten fighters and one well worth being in your seat for.
Another local treasure, the Golden Girl Nicola Adams, once again performs in her home city against former world title challenger Soledad del Valle Frias and victory in this one will put Nicola firmly on the world title trail herself.
BOXNATION DELIVERED TO UK fans an undoubted contender for Fight of the Year in the early hours of Sunday morning.
We witnessed something very special between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares, where Lomachenko prevailed in round ten courtesy of a crippling body shot.
I am now convinced Lomachenko is the best fighter I have seen since Sugar Ray Leonard.
In effect, the Ukrainian went up two weights by shifting up a class and then giving away some 14 pounds on the night. Linares was the significantly bigger man and Lomachenko went toe-to-toe with him and broke him up like he does everybody else.
He simply takes the fight out of his opponents.
When you look at him he has got the most fantastic rhythm, the way he pivots and his balance, the way he throws shots – he may even turn out to be better than Leonard, I don’t know.
The scoring on the night was atrocious again and I had him 6-3 up taking into account the knockdown in the sixth – a round I thought he won so it could have been called even.
Lomachenko is simply a phenomenal, phenomenal fighter for me. He is 30 years of age now so we can only guess how good he could have become if he had come in younger and left the amateur scene earlier.
As a side note we should keep in mind that it was a Ukrainian fighting against a Venezuelan at a sold out Madison Square Garden. That tells us how times have changed and shows that boxing fans will just embrace greatness, no matter where it comes from.
IT LOOKS LIKE Liam Smith has now got a taller order on his hands when he makes his mandatory challenge for the WBO world super welterweight title later in the year.
Jaime Munguia is the new name in the frame after the Mexican spectacularly unseated the champion Sadam Ali in four rounds at the weekend.
It is unfortunate Liam missed his opportunity against Ali because Munguia did exactly what I expected our man to do to Ali.
The 21-year-old is clearly a puncher, but I believe Liam has got a superior boxing brain and he will not be found wanting size-wise either, as Ali was.
It is a shame for Liam to have missed out this time, but he will relish his new challenge and the fight will be in September.