CENTRAL BOXING CLUB star Josh Warrington has vowed not to fall victim to the â€œmind gamesâ€ of English featherweight title challenger Jamie Speight.
â€˜Geniusâ€™ Speight, who has lost three of his last four contests, has attempted to contact Warrington ahead of tonightâ€™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 â€œsafe fightâ€, claiming he regards himself as a gentleman.
But Warrington, who overcame Chris Male to become champion last year, insists he isnâ€™t interested in what Speight has to say until after this eveningâ€™s bout.
â€œIâ€™m not a nasty person whatsoever but Iâ€™m not willing to become friends with my opponent before the fight,â€ said Warrington.
â€œUntil the final bell has sounded, I am treating Jamie as my enemy and nothing less.
â€œI believe he is trying to get into my head, heâ€™s trying to gain some kind of psychological edge.
â€œBut thatâ€™s not going to happen. Iâ€™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.â€
In excess of 1,000 people are expected to cram into Leeds Town Hall tonight, marking his homecoming. Leeds-born,Â but Batley-based, the 22-year-old boasts an untouched 13-fight record.
Speight, meanwhile, who lost to Gary Sykesâ€™ 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 Oâ€™Hagan and fellow coaches Julian McGowan and John Tallant.
â€œI am under no pressure to get a knockout, I am just going in there to get the win,â€ he added.
â€œJamie is a good prospect and this is a chance for him to perhaps turn his career around, which I am very mindful of.
â€œPeople may expect me to win, but I am sticking to the plan of action.
â€œI am an exciting boxer and Iâ€™ll prove that on home soil. Iâ€™ve just finished a 10-week training camp and I feel fantastic.
â€œIâ€™ve set new personal best times in the gym and I am in the best form of my career so far. Iâ€™m still only young, too, so rushing is not an option.
â€œI am very relaxed about the future, a British title shot may follow this and it may not.
â€œUltimately, I just need to keep working my way up through the rankings. While doing that, I need to keep my record intact.â€
â€˜The Warriorâ€™ Warrington is expected to kick-start the nightâ€™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 Â£30 (General), Â£40 (Stage) and Â£60 (Ringside) and are available from the sales section of manager Steve Woodâ€™s official wesbite www.vipbe.co.uk.