JOSH WARRINGTON is the new featherweight king of Europe after hammering Davide Diele into fourth round defeat in front of his raucous Leeds faithful.
The 23-year-old – also British and Commonwealth champion – cranked up his high-powered engine from the opening bell, much to the delight of fans in First Direct Arena, and overran his opponent.
“How can I not get fired up with all these fans?” said Warrington. “They are absolutely amazing. I don’t know any other place in the country which creates an atmosphere like this.
“It’s hard not to get carried away because they get you very fired up, but I use all the energyB from the crowd and take it into the ring. They keep me going from the first bell to the last.”
The 35-year-old Italian had no answer for the array of punishment heading his way and he was dropped for an eight-count in the fourth, before a breathless follow-up smothered the life out of his challenge. After the referee halted the fight, Warrington punched the air in delight and revealed a showdown with Welshman Lee Selby is in his sights.
“I’m still learning with every fight,” said the 19-0 Warrington. “I’ll leave it to the team – I’d fight Nonito Donaire tomorrow but I’ll leave it to the team.
“I’m always learning and getting stronger. [Selby] has set out of the traps a little bit quicker than me and he’s got a world title eliminator, but I’m hot on his heels. If he gets a world title then I’ll be looking to be his first defence but I’ll take each fight as it comes.”
Ricky Burns failed to impress on his light-welterweight debut despite ending a three-fight winless streak by outpointing Alexandre Lepelley over eight rounds. The former WBO super-featherweight and lightweight boss signalled afterwards that he has some tough decisions to make, and a return to 135lbs is likely.
Brian Rose had an easier time in his first bout since a one-sided loss to WBO light-middleweight ruler Demetrius Andrade. The Blackpool fighter halted Ignacio Fraga in round one.
There were also wins for Dave Ryan – who upset Tyrone Nurse over 10 – and rising super-middleweight starlet, Callum Smith.