Champion Josh vows to ignore social networking mind games

CENTRAL BOXING CLUB star Josh Warrington has vowed not to fall victim to the “mind games” of English featherweight title challenger Jamie Speight.

‘Genius’ Speight, who has lost three of his last four contests, has attempted to contact Warrington ahead of tonight’s huge 10-round clash in Leeds.

On Monday, 24-year-old Speight took to social-networking site Twitter to wish his undefeated opponent a “safe fight”, claiming he regards himself as a gentleman.

But Warrington, who overcame Chris Male to become champion last year, insists he isn’t interested in what Speight has to say until after this evening’s bout.

“I’m not a nasty person whatsoever but I’m not willing to become friends with my opponent before the fight,” said Warrington.

“Until the final bell has sounded, I am treating Jamie as my enemy and nothing less.

“I believe he is trying to get into my head, he’s trying to gain some kind of psychological edge.

“But that’s not going to happen. I’ve trained hard and I worked incredibly hard to get this belt so I am not willing to give it up, especially in front of my home crowd.”

In excess of 1,000 people are expected to cram into Leeds Town Hall tonight, marking his homecoming. Leeds-born,  but Batley-based, the 22-year-old boasts an untouched 13-fight record.

Speight, meanwhile, who lost to Gary Sykes’ English title opponent Kevin Hooper in 2011, has won 11 of 15 fights.

Despite having so far been unable to record a knockout victory, Warrington has no plans to come away from a fixed game plan set in place by father and trainer Sean O’Hagan and fellow coaches Julian McGowan and John Tallant.

“I am under no pressure to get a knockout, I am just going in there to get the win,” he added.

“Jamie is a good prospect and this is a chance for him to perhaps turn his career around, which I am very mindful of.

“People may expect me to win, but I am sticking to the plan of action.

“I am an exciting boxer and I’ll prove that on home soil. I’ve just finished a 10-week training camp and I feel fantastic.

“I’ve set new personal best times in the gym and I am in the best form of my career so far. I’m still only young, too, so rushing is not an option.

“I am very relaxed about the future, a British title shot may follow this and it may not.

“Ultimately, I just need to keep working my way up through the rankings. While doing that, I need to keep my record intact.”

‘The Warrior’ Warrington is expected to kick-start the night’s main event shortly before 9.30pm, while stablemate Tony Aitcheson, of Dewsbury, is understood to be first out on the undercard.

A selection of tickets are still on sale, priced at £30 (General), £40 (Stage) and £60 (Ringside) and are available from the sales section of manager Steve Wood’s official wesbite www.vipbe.co.uk.

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