Eddie Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sport: “This upcoming fight represents a genuine British classic. On Saturday evening, two World Champions will fight before an audience of 10,000 in Sheffield.
“These two fighters can certainly be described as British standouts. I’ve witnessed both at their peak and during their challenging times. But regardless of the situation, they’ve consistently delivered exciting fights. This Saturday, they’re prepared to risk it all once more.
“From the moment we open up the evening with ‘Before The Bell’, to local fights, British Title qualifiers, and unified World Titles – it’s set to be a great evening of boxing, broadcasted globally LIVE on DAZN.”
Leigh Wood: “My strength might not guarantee a win, but I possess it for moments it’s required. I’ve had three fights in less than a year. Realizing that my time in the sport is limited, I wanted to make the most of it when I have the opportunity. There’s a moment approaching where I might not have such choices. I’m passionate about boxing, and I’m thrilled for this fight with a past champion as my opponent. But my strength won’t be the sole determinant of the outcome. Some trainers claim that sheer determination, strength, or fitness are the keys to victory, but boxing is more intricate. My views have transformed under my coach, Ben, and everyone will see the difference this Saturday.
“My recent fight with Lara made me realize my capabilities. Even after the loss, I felt I could re-enter the ring immediately, understanding my errors and the required corrections. That evening in Nottingham was challenging, especially being amidst my supporters. However, the quick bounce-back suited me. I took a short vacation, returned to training, and now, here’s another opportunity.
“Josh has registered impressive victories, possibly even surpassing mine. He’s earned this fight purely based on his merits. I anticipate an electrifying ambiance, perhaps the most memorable I’ve ever encountered. Especially during my entrance, with record ticket sales, the night promises to be unforgettable. I aspire to be recognized among the UK’s finest Featherweights and one of my city’s top-contender fighters.
“While I believe a knockout is feasible, it isn’t my primary strategy. I’m aware of Josh’s resilience. I’ve observed some of his great fights, notably the one against Kiko. He displayed immense grit in that fight, showcasing his ability to endure and triumph. However, during our upcoming fight, there will be moments where he’ll have to exert significantly to gain an edge, and I plan to capitalize on those instances.”
Josh Warrington: “The fact that I’m not the favorite doesn’t bother me; it fuels me further. Leigh holds the championship title, and I appreciate this chance to fight him. What irks me is when people count me out, suggesting my time is done. Yet, I vividly recall my convincing win against Kiko Martinez within seven rounds and how I took control in the latter part of the Lopez fight. Some even praise Lopez’s performances post our fight.
“There’s an unmatched hunger in me right now. It’s been ages since I felt this way. Throughout this training phase and over the past year, my focus has been unwavering. In past fights, it wasn’t physical prowess that betrayed me; it was the mental game.
“As time rolls on, signs of aging appear. My time in boxing has left me with more gray hairs and a receding hairline. But this journey has also sharpened my boxing acumen. Once, I’d view a 12-round fight as extensive, but now, 36 minutes seems fleeting. I’ve honed my skills, optimizing my power and precision in strikes. Whereas I used to deliver rapid combos, I now prioritize impactful hits. I believe I’m in a positive phase of my career, but words are just that. My performance on Saturday will do the talking.
“My most noteworthy knockouts happened during significant championship fights. Fifteen fights passed before I marked my first victory by stoppage. Initially, my style contributed to this, as I wasn’t truly grounding my strikes. But when it truly counted, I delivered. I might not pack a single punch that can end it all, but I’m confident in my ability to inflict damage. I’m certain Leigh won’t last until the end.
“I always run through various fight scenarios in my head. This time, there’s a strong intuition that the fight will conclude prematurely. While power is important, the ability to endure hits is equally crucial. This sentiment has echoed throughout my training, instilling a belief that I will reclaim my title once, if not multiple times.”
Ben Davison: “These two are consummate professionals; they aren’t about meaningless scuffles. Every time they step into the ring, they give it their all. The respect between them is evident, as it should be. We fully recognize that Josh is fiercely relentless in the ring. Given the ambience, the stakes, and their loyal supporters, this fight is shaping up to be iconic. Both fighters thrive off the energy from the crowd, setting the stage for a memorable clash.
“Regarding their periods of inactivity, I believe both maintain a consistent presence in the gym, especially Leigh. Hence, I wouldn’t put much weight on that aspect. Both fighters have a wider skill set than most credit them for, making the possible outcomes numerous and varied. Once the action intensifies, I predict this fight will earn its place in boxing lore.”