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Age not a barrier for Leigh Wood, Josh Warrington denies he is washed

Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood 27-3 (16) and Josh Warrington 31-2-1 (8) are both predicting victory ahead of their clash at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, England this Saturday night.

Nottingham’s Wood, 35, believes he is the fresher fighter despite being Warrington’s senior by three years.

“A KO is a possibility, I am not going to go out there banking on knocking him out, but I am going to be dominant,” Wood said.

“I know Josh is very tough, I’ve been ringside for a number of his fights, especially the Kiko [Martinez] fight, that sticks out for me.

“He got hurt and he was close to being stopped himself when he got his stoppage, so I know he can bite down and give everything he needs to, but at what cost because there will be times in this fight when he needs to work extremely hard just to win a moment and I will make him pay for those moments.”

The 32-year-old Warrington of Leeds has gone 1-2-1 in his past four fights: a knockout loss to Mauricio Lara; a second round technical draw in their rematch; a knockout victory over Kiko Martinez to become a two-time IBF featherweight champion; and a majority decision loss to Luis Alberto Lopez in his last outing in December.

On the back of these recent results, Warrington will enter the bout as the underdog.

“I’m not offended that I am not the favourite, if anything it’s motivation,” Warrington said. “Leigh is the champion and I’ve been given this opportunity so I am very grateful for that.

“What does annoy me is being written off, I’m finished, that’s given me the bit between my teeth. Last year I dominated Kiko Martinez inside seven rounds and I dominated the second half of the Lopez fight and people are talking about how well he’s done since our fight.

“I know I have enough to hurt Leigh and I am very confident that he doesn’t hear the final bell.”

Wood says he has noticed a change in Warrington in the week leading up to the fight.

“It’s been respectful between us all camp,” Wood said. “I think Josh is starting to get slightly aggressive, starting to swear a little bit. He thinks people will like him if he swears a little bit more.

“The last few days, I think he’s changing a little bit. He might even be trying to rattle me, I don’t know. Like I said, I’m cool, calm and collected and I know what I’ve got to do.

“I’ve been at this level many times. He’s going to do what he always does and I’ll do what I always do.

“I feel like I’ve always had the potential, but I was missing a little bit of guidance. I got to a high level doing things on my own, but since I’ve teamed up with Ben [Davison] it’s brought out the best in me and it’s showing on fight night. I make less mistakes and I capitalise on my opponents – it’s taken me to another level.”