By Tom Sargent
Leeds boxer Josh Warrington returns to the ring later this year at the First Direct Arena with a possible fight with former world champion Kiko Martinez on the cards.
The unbeaten featherweight, who has a record of 24 wins from 24 fights, was scheduled to take on Marco McCullough but the deal to make the fight fell through.
The ‘Leeds Warrior’ last fought in July when he stopped Patrick Hyland in front of his hometown fans and has since parted ways with Matchroom Boxing after both parties agreed they were going in different directions.
Warrington has now signed with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions after the promoter landed a landmark deal with BT Sport to broadcast 20 premium live boxing events a year.
The boxer has built up a huge fan base in his home city of Leeds over the years and will be sharing the spotlight on May 13 with double Olympic champion Nicola Adams, who is also from the city.
Got my tickets today and hotel booked! Looking forward to a great night of boxing. #mot
— Phil LUFC 💛💙 (@lufc_phil) February 7, 2017
Warrington will be hoping to use this fight as a springboard towards a possible world championship fight against the IBF holder Lee Selby after his fight with Jonathan Barros was cancelled.
A message to my fans:
"I've got some bad news…" is what they said. Well God gives his toughest soldiers the biggest challenges. #TeamSelby pic.twitter.com/4biviQqboH
— lee selby (@leeselby126) January 28, 2017
The domestic rivals have been engaged in a war of wards for nearly a year and Selby even took to his personal website last May to accuse the Leeds fighter of “running scared” after talks broke down for a showdown last summer.
“Why would I not want to fight him? He’s got a World Title, there’s a bit of needle in there. Of course I want to fight,” the 26-year old told BoxNation. “People are saying ‘you bottled it against Selby, you don’t want to fight him’. Listen, I’ve dreamt about him- I want to fight him!”
He added: “To fight here [in Leeds], against him, for a world title…of course I want to do that! That gives me a little bit more incentive to get through May 13th in style.”
“It wasn’t really personal but its been made that way by his team, getting nasty on social media,” he continued. “If someone calls you a mug on telly or on camera, then you want to punch them in the face! That’s what I want to do with him!”