Josh Warrington intends to stay cool like Anthony Joshua and calmly walk to the ring while Kaiser Chiefs perform ‘I Predict a Riot’ on Saturday.
Anthony Joshua, the IBF-WBA-WBO world heavyweight champion, has performed in front of huge stadium crowds in his last three fights and Warrington, a big star in his home city of Leeds, insists he can handle the occasion just like his English compatriot when he faces IBF featherweight titleholder Lee Selby at Elland Road stadium.
“If I start walking to the ring and waving to the crowd then it will not be in my favour because you’re not on track,” Warrington told ESPN.
“Look at Anthony Joshua when he walks out, he’s as cool as a cucumber. I’ve learned through experience that I need to keep my head on the job, I know how to separate enjoying it and being serious.
“It’s going to be a great event and I’m just going to enjoy it. But when I get in that ring the horse blinkers go on and I’ve got 36 minutes to concentrate on the job at hand and that’s to win that word title.
“Having the Kaiser Chiefs play ‘I Predict A Riot’ when I come out is going to add to the atmosphere. Normally my entrances are noisy but to have the Kaiser Chiefs there themselves, it’s going to be special. “Having local heroes like Lucas Radebe walking me into the ring doesn’t put added pressure on me. If I could have picked a place to fight for the world title it would have been in my home town.
“This makes it a special occasion. I will show that I am a world level fighter who deserves to be world champion.”
But unbeaten Warrington, 27, believes hostile crowd could upset Welshman Selby, who begins favourite in a sixth title defence.
“Occasion could get to him, I think it will, he will say it won’t, but he got worked up at a press conference,” Warrington told ESPN.
“He’s confident when he walks to the ring but time will tell. I don’t think even he will know when he’s stood in that tunnel.
“This is definitely the most hostile crowd he has been in front of. With Kaiser Chiefs playing, I would like to be in the stands enjoying it with the boys, but someone has got to do the business on the night.”
Selby, 31, Britain’s longest reigning current world boxing champion, is confident his experience will be enough after winning the belt from Evgeny Gradovich nearly three years ago.
“Of my 27 fights most of them have been for one title or another and that has given me invaluable experience that I believe gives me that extra edge against Warrington,” Selby said.
“This will be my sixth world title fight and that kind of experience you can’t buy, you have to work harder to get in proper shape each time to stay at the top and if you don’t fighters like Josh are waiting to take what I have.
“I’ve traveled to America to defend my title, I’ve fought whoever wanted to fight me so going to Leeds won’t bother me at all.
“Of course he thinks it’s his time but he will have to wait a little bit longer for my title, what’s mine is staying mine.
“Fighting in his backyard doesn’t bother me at all, part of being a word champion is that you are willing to fight anywhere, you don’t pick and choose.