By Terence Dooley
IBF World featherweight titlist Lee Selby (26-1, 9 KOs) and mandatory challenger Josh Warrington (26-0, 6 early) both vowed to register a win and move on to a fight against the winner of Carl Frampton against Nonito Donaire when meeting to promote their May 19 encounter at Elland Road football ground at a hotel in Leeds earlier today.
Warrington believes that he will become the first world champion to hail from the area whereas Selby believes that he will make the fifth defence of his title before moving on to bigger things.
Promoter Frank Warren opened proceedings by promising that there will be fireworks either way come the night. “We’ve got the ingredients for a fantastic fight here at Elland Road on May 19,” stated Warren. “We've got a great champion here in Lee Selby, who has shown he's got the balls to come into the other guy's backyard. All of Leeds are going to turn out for Josh Warrington.”
He added: “It's a great division in the UK. This is great for British boxing. We're working hard to make things happen.”
Selby, though, insists that he is undaunted by the prospect of fighting away from home, and that his 27-year-old opponent has placed too much stock on his vaunted home support and their ability to help carry him over the line.
“This doesn’t faze me in the slightest,” said the 30-year-old titlist. “If you're banking on me falling apart before the first bell goes then you've got another thing coming. You kept calling me out and then turned the fight down.”
“Two years ago you said I'd never get my opportunity to fight for the world title,” countered Warrington. “I'm here, I won my eliminator—you can't mess with destiny. On May 19th, there will be a Royal Wedding, an FA Cup Final, and Leeds will have its first world champion.”
“Selby looks like a Light Heavyweight minus the caterpillar moustache,” joked Warrington, referring to the Welshman’s facial hair. “Leeds is different. There is not a place and crowd like Leeds. This is a different breed. People in here don’t like you. They don’t like what you’ve been saying about Leeds fans.”
“I’ve been the away fighter many times before,” replied Selby. “I knocked out Stephen Smith on one of Frank’s shows. I’m the champion and no one has given me anything. If he comes steaming out I will just box his head off.”
“He used to say he would knock me out,” said Warrington. “He’s changed it now to box my head off.”
"I'll break him down, round by round, then stop him late on,” Selby retorted, reiterating his earlier predictions.
“You sound confident there, pal,” added Warrington.
"The best is yet to come, I have some days in the gym where I'm untouchable—if I can bring that on May 19th will be a mismatch,” predicted Selby before revealing that he is also willing to travel to meet Frampton. “I would go to Belfast to fight Carl Frampton. It's a hostile crowd but I'm ready for it.”
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