Central Boxing Club’s Josh Warrington defended his English featherweight title with a unanimous points victory over Ian Bailey at Elland Road.
Warrington produced arguably the best performance of his career as a raucous home crowd roared him to a landslide win at the home of his beloved Leeds United last Friday.
Like several at ringside, judge Dave Parris awarded Warrington a shut-out 100 points to 90 victory, Phil Edwards gave Bailey a share of one round scoring it 100-91, while judge John Latham was slightly more sympathetic to the brave and gutsy Bailey, judging it 98-92 in favour of the Leeds Warrior.
Warrington controlled the contest from the first bell and produced some lovely boxing, switching between head and body.
The 22-year-old, fighting out of Batley’s Central Boxing Club, looked classy boxing off his jab and keeping Bailey at arms’ length.
The Slough man attempted to get in close and draw Warrington into a brawl but again the Leeds man produced the more eye-catching work.
A fierce upper cut, landing flush on Bailey’s jaw in the second, rocked the visiting man and three or four clubbing shots to the head threatened an early stoppage.
Bailey weathered the storm but could do little to stop the Warrington onslaught as the Leeds man continued to rack up the rounds.
A beautiful left cut Bailey’s right eye in the eighth and referee Michael Alexander took a close look.
After consulting the ringside doctor, Bailey was allowed to continue with blood streaming into his eye.
It was an action packed 10 rounds, in which Bailey deservedly managed to hear the final bell, but there was no doubting the winner and chants of Leeds anthem ‘Marching on Together’ rang around the Elland Road pavilion towards the end of the last round. A growing Warrington support will have gone away happy and Yorkshire boxing could be on the verge of having a new golden era after the Leeds Warrior racked up a 15th win from 15 professional outings.
Central Boxing trainer Julian McGowan said: Josh is really developing into a fine fighter. The atmosphere down the Central gym at the moment is tangible.
“The lads are really buzzing off each other and the coaches are bouncing off each other.
“If someone had said to me 18 or 19 months after opening the Central that you will have two lads on the verge of challenging for British titles, I’d have said ‘wow!’ but that is where we are at.
With Gary Sykes having vacated the English super featherweight title to step up and challenge for the British, there is a feeling that McGowan and his close knit team at Central could be about to deliver more boxing honours to the district.
McGowan said: “The English titles have been great from the view that we wanted to get belts in the gym.”
He added: “We have a vibe down at Central.
“It won’t last forever because ultimately coaches and fighters will go there separate ways but I think we are enjoying it while we can and ultimately the goal is to have two British champions by next Spring.”