Josh Warrington says he is as hungry as he has ever been, ahead of his world title rematch with Kiko Martinez in Leeds on March 26.
Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KOs) bids to become a two-time world champion, when he faces IBF featherweight titlist, Martinez at the First Direct Arena, live on DAZN, almost five years on from their first meeting, which ‘The Leeds Warrior’ won by majority decision.
The 31-year-old suffered a shock loss to Mauricio Lara last February, after vacating his IBF crown with the intention of securing a fight with then-WBA champion, Xu Can, instead of facing mandatory challenger, Kid Galahad, who went on to win the vacant belt with victory over Jazza Dickens in August, before suffering a shock knockout defeat to Martinez in November.
Warrington believes he is being written off in some circles, but insists it is giving him the motivation to win his old strap back.
“[The hunger] it’s there more than ever, ” Warrington told proboxing-fans.com at Friday’s first press conference.
“It’s like I’m not the champion and everyone is saying, ‘oh, yeah Josh is going to walk into this fight and blitz it.’
It’s like I’m the underdog again, people are writing me off a little bit, kind of do not give me opportunities anymore.
“[They say] ‘he’s seen better days,’ I’m 31. I’m always in the gym, I’m always in shape.
“It’s like I’m climbing the way back up, so the motivation is burning more than ever.”
Warrington’s rematch with Lara in September ended in a technical draw after two rounds, following an accident head clash.
The former world champion, who fights at the First Direct Arena for the 11th time in his career on March 26, insists he would like to settle the score with the Mexican, who returns against Emilio Sanchez on the undercard of Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez’s clash with Julio Cesar Martinez on March 5 in San Diego.
“Nobody wanted that,” Warrington said of the draw with Lara.
“It’s the worst of the worst.
“I think I would have rather been sparked out, go out my shield then waved off, because of an accidental clash of heads, but we move on.
“I would love to put that Lara saga to bed, I would love to have a trilogy with him, but let’s get back into a driving seat position now.
“Winning another world title, I can choose to fight him, I can choose to fight another one of the champions, so yeah it just gives me that massive position of power back.”
Watch the full interview with Josh Warrington below: