Lee Selby keeps cool ahead of Josh Warrington clash

Lee Selby and Josh Warrington face the press - and each other - at Elland Road
Lee Selby and Josh Warrington face the press - and each other - at Elland Road

World champion Lee Selby kept his cool amid a hostile reception at an Elland Road press conference ahead of his world title grudge fight against long-time rival Josh Warrington.

IBF featherweight title holder Selby, 30, refused to get drawn into a heated war of words in Warrington's home city before the all-British showdown at the same venue on May 19.

"It doesn't faze me in the slightest," said Selby, who will make his fifth defence of the title he landed in May 2015 when he stopped Russia's Evgeny Gradovich. "I think it's a great fight. Josh Warrington has done everything asked of him. It won't be easy. No fight is easy. It will be a tough fight, but my class will show on the night. My best is yet to come. I haven't had a fight when I thought I performed at my best.

"I have some days in the gym sparring and I'm untouchable. If I can bring that to our fight night on May 19 it will be a mis-match. If he comes steaming up with all his friends roaring behind him I'll box his head off."

A heated feud has simmered between the pair since Selby accused Warrington of "bottling" a chance to fight the Welshman in 2016.

Selby is 1/4 favourite to win with Sky Bet who have his opponent at 3/1 and the draw 20/1.

Warrington, mandatory challenger after stopping Dane Dennis Ceylan in a final eliminator at the First Direct Arena in October, played to the crowd and mocked the champion. The 27-year-old will be backed by thousands of Leeds United fans who also follow the former dental technician.

"The Welsh Mayweather is in the house," he said. "Minus his caterpillar moustache. He's found a bic razor! Two years ago you said I'd never get the opportunity to fight for a world title and I wouldn't even win an eliminator. You said those words. But I'm here. I won the eliminator and you can't mess with destiny. I feel like I've already done this. I've seen the build-up and I know what it's going to be. On May 19 I know a few things. There's going to be a royal wedding, the FA Cup final and Leeds is going to have its first world boxing champion."

Selby won his latest defence against Mexico's Eduardo Ramirez in London by a unanimous points decision in December.

Warrington's promoter Frank Warren predicted a special occasion at Elland Road, which last hosted a major boxing night in 1992 when Henry Wharton won the British middleweight title by beating Fidel Castro Smith in 1992.

"We've got the ingredients here for a fantastic fight on May 19 here," Warren said. "It will be a great atmosphere, but more importantly you'll get a great fight. I know that all of Leeds are going to turn out for Josh."

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