JOSH WARRINGTON intends to keep “proving people wrong” as he prepares to make the first defence of his IBF featherweight title.
Warrington feels the significance of becoming world champion at his beloved Elland Road by upsetting the odds against Lee Selby was slightly downplayed because of the Welshman’s struggles to make the 126lb limit.
The Yorkshireman is unfazed by being an underdog once more with the bookmakers ahead of his showdown against former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton at the Manchester Arena this weekend.
Indeed, Warrington believes his status relieves the pressure on his shoulders and feels another surprise victory would go a long way to silencing his doubters.
The 28-year-old told Press Association Sport: “I thought winning a world title would announce me on the world stage but I guess not. I guess you keep on fighting the big names and proving people wrong.
“To beat Lee Selby and Carl Frampton back-to-back in the same year would be some achievement. Carl has got a massive profile worldwide and a good win and people will start to know who Josh Warrington is.
“But there’s no pressure. I’m not meant to win, am I? I’m just meant to turn up, wave at the crowd and that’s it. But I always upset the party.
“They can’t deny my achievements when I beat Carl at the weekend.”
It is nearly two years since Frampton last fought for a world title, losing for the first time as a professional to Leo Santa Cruz in January 2017 having outpointed the American six months earlier.
The Northern Irishman has endured some fractious periods in the interim, including switching trainer and promoter, but has rebounded with three straight wins to get himself back into the world title picture.
Warrington believes Frampton is a worthy contender but added his foe may be in the last chance saloon at the elite level.
Warrington added: “He’s a former world champion and former pound-for-pound fighter… You can’t get those credentials without being a decent fighter.
“He’s going to want it. It could be his last throw of the dice so he’s going to give absolutely everything. But we’re prepared for that and I’m prepared for anything that he can bring.”
Frampton rates Warrington behind WBA titlist Santa Cruz, WBO champion Oscar Valdez and WBC beltholder Gary Russell Jr at featherweight.
However, the Belfast fighter thinks he is capable of beating them all.
He said: “At this point in time I’ll be respectful to the champions so I’ll not put myself as a number one.
“I would say, in terms of what he’s done, Leo Santa Cruz is number one, I would say flick of a coin between Valdez and Gary Russell and then I would say Warrington is number four – and that’s not being disrespectful.
“They’re the champions but I beat them all on my day.”
– Josh Warrington defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Carl Frampton exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office, Saturday December 22. Watch for just £19.95, for more info visit www.bt.com/sportboxoffice