Leigh Wood is the supposed stronger puncher entering their featherweight title fight, but Josh Warrington predicted Friday that he’ll be the one to win by knockout Saturday night in Sheffield, England.
Warrington has knocked out only 24 percent of his professional opponents. Wood’s knockout ratio is more than twice as high (53 percent), yet Warrington warned after they made weight Friday afternoon that Wood will encounter an experienced, ferocious fighter determined to become a three-time featherweight champion in a 12-round, 126-pound bout DAZN will stream worldwide from Utilita Arena Sheffield in Sheffield, England.
“Josh Warrington wins by knockout, becomes a three-time world champion,” Warrington replied when DAZN’s Ali Drew asked for a prediction on stage. “And the newwwww!”
Warrington, 32, and Wood, 35, have both been stopped by Mexican contender Mauricio Lara (26-3-1, 19 KOs).
Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) avenged his seventh-round, technical-knockout loss to Lara in his last fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision win May 27 at AO Arena in Manchester, England. Warrington’s rematch with Lara ended prematurely because Lara suffered a cut over his left eye that prohibited him from continuing in the second round in September 2021 at Headingley Rugby Stadium in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds, England.
England’s Gavin McDonnell (then 10-0-1) previously stopped Wood in the sixth round of their February 2014 bout at Hull Arena in Hull, England. Warrington’s only loss inside the distance came against Lara, who dropped the usually durable Warrington twice on his way to a ninth-round, technical-knockout victory in February 2021 at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs) lost his IBF featherweight crown for the second time in his last fight, which resulted in a 12-round, majority-decision defeat to Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) last December 10 at First Direct Arena in Leeds.
Another championship opportunity left him “pumped” the day before the seventh featherweight title fight of his career.
“I’m ready to run through walls,” Warrington said to the crowd assembled at Cutlers’ Hall for their weigh-in. “First of all, I’m very grateful for all the people who’ve turned out today, you know, taken lunch, taken time off work to come along. Once again, loads of people come down from Leeds. It’s gonna be a mental atmosphere tomorrow, whether they come to support Leigh, majority will come to support me. We’re gonna have a hell of a fight, but there’s gonna be a new champion in Sheffield on Saturday night.”
Most sportsbooks have made Wood about a 2-1 favorite, but Warrington promised to deliver for faithful fans from Leeds who will help pack an arena located between his hometown and Wood’s native Nottingham.
“This is what we will live for,” Warrington said. “We live for these moments. And this is not the first time I’ve done this. I’ve done this plenty of times. I’ve done this annually against better fighters, so first time for Leigh, really. Take him to somewhere where he’s not been before and I’m ready, like I said, to get back on top.”
DAZN’s Wood-Warrington undercard coverage is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. BST in the United Kingdom and 2 p.m. EDT in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.