instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Q&A: Josh Warrington

Long wait: Warrington last fought in October PICTURE: PA

Britain’s IBF world featherweight champion on strumming, DJing and praying for the Premier League

How are you dealing with your plans for 2020 being on hold?

It hadn’t kicked in until the last few weeks. I really had this down as a big year for me, building my legacy. Instead, you just find yourself waiting by the phone, hoping. You think you have a date and then this happens. It was nearly over the line but now you wonder when we will resume at all.

What about fighting behind closed doors, even a unification bout against WBA champion Can Xu?

It would be different, certainly. For the Xu fight, we were looking at staging it at Headingley but right now it would not be the spectacle I’d envisaged — just me and him in a sports hall somewhere. We would have to adapt to behind-closed-doors shows if the wait went on.

Will it become a necessity in the end, even for world champions like yourself?

Come October it will have been a year since I last fought so I would have to seriously consider it, just to get going again. At 29, I ain’t getting any younger! But I’d hate to not have my fans there. People come from all over the world to watch me.

Will some boxers fall by the wayside without the income of regular bouts?

There will be fighters who have to go ‘back to work’, do another job to bring the money in. What’s happening now is eating away at their last pay-packet and I do feel for these guys. I think they will have to be on the first shows back.

You were a dental technician before concentrating on a full-time career in boxing. How did that come about?

I was considering going into the Marines but my dad (trainer Sean O’Hagan) talked me out of it. A job came up in a dental lab through someone we knew and I carried it on until I was at European title level but boxing was more than a hobby by then and I’ve not had to go back to it.

What’s been getting you through the lockdown?

I’ve been sharpening up on my guitar-playing. I’d love to play the piano too. I’ve also bought myself a pair of decks as I fancied myself as a bit of a house DJ when I was younger — maybe it’s an early mid-life crisis!

Any classic fights you would recommend for fans to watch while they’re stuck indoors?

I always watch Marco Antonio Barrera v Erik Morales, a great fight, unbelievable spectacle. But lately I’ve been watching a lot of Mike Tyson and of course he could be coming back. I’d recommend the Venezuelan two-weight world champion Edwin Valero as well.

And finally, your beloved Leeds — will they be denied promotion to the Premier League?

I think every Leeds fan would be singing until the day they die that the Football League has done us if we are! This is something that could only happen to us. The momentum was back with us when the league was shut down but as the months go by, the more you start worrying about it.

Josh Warrington is supported by Foreign Currency Innovations Ltd. fci-ltd.co.uk