‘I would just want to get back on the horse or f*** the game off’: Josh Warrington reveals Anthony Joshua’s advice and opens up on bid to pick his career off the canvas
- Josh Warrington is looking to get his career back on track after a first defeat
- Shock defeat by Mauricio Lara sent the Leeds fighter into a downward spiral
- But he has chosen to get back in the saddle and confront his demons
There was perhaps no fouler sign of how Josh Warrington had drifted of course than the sight – and smell – gathering outside his Leeds home.
‘For about two weeks, I just had my head in my a****, moping around the house,’ he remembers. ‘The garden was piled up with dog s*** and I couldn’t be bothered going out and dealing with that.’
It was a glimpse of what could have been that sent Warrington on this spiral.
Josh Warrington has chosen to get back on the horse and is motivated to fight again
‘Probably the lowest I’ve ever been,’ is how he describes the aftermath of a trip to see Derek Chisora’s clash with Joseph Parker. ‘That’s when it hit home because that should have been my night,’ he says.
Instead, that botched fight with China’s Can Xu proved collateral damage of Warrington’s shocking defeat by unfancied Mexico’s Mauricio Lara in February.
On Saturday at Headingley, the featherweight can avenge that first defeat – and stave off the threat of retirement.
Opportunity knocks again, after Warrington vowed to clear his garden – and scoop his career off the canvas.
Warrington will face Mauricio Lara in a rematch after his shock defeat by the Mexican
‘Time’s a healer. If you’ve got a worldie of a girl and she leaves you, you’re devastated and you think your world has come crashing down,’ he says. ‘But eventually, you go out and find another girl and she’s the love of your life.
‘For the first six or seven weeks, I was dealing with injuries and that covered up all the thoughts of losing. I had a fractured jaw… an operation on my elbow, a damaged shoulder, my ear was perforated.’
Then came that fateful trip to Parker-Chisora in May.
‘I broke down after that,’ Warrington admits. ‘I had a chat with AJ (Anthony Joshua) about three weeks after (losing)… he said I would get to a stage where I would just want to get back on the horse or f*** the game off.’
Warrington chose the saddle and was forced to confront his demons.
The Leeds fighter will be on home turf at Headingley and is determined to right the wrongs
‘There were times when we were going out to the supermarket and I would say to the missus, ‘I’ll just wait in the car”,’ he says. ‘I didn’t want to put people in the awkward position when you go past someone in the bread aisle and they’re like, “Are you alright mate?”’
The Leeds Warrior also re-watched his ninth-round stoppage several times alongside father and trainer Sean O’Hagan.
‘It gets to round four and he is like: “Turn it off now”. We have to skip through that bit,’ Warrington says. ‘It makes my toes curl every time… the mistakes I made were ridiculous.’