Josh Warrington says he is hungrier than ever ahead of a clash with veteran Rendall Munroe
Josh Warrington steps into the unknown when he defends his Commonwealth featherweight title against Rendall Munroe.
Last Updated: 19/04/14 6:59pm
The Leeds youngster hits the big stage for the first time on the undercard of Scott Quigg's world title defence at the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester.
The 23-year-old made a breakthrough when gaining his first stoppage victory in 16 career fights when winning the vacant title against Samir Mouneimne in Hull last November.
However, he faces an altogether different test against former European champion Munroe, who will be looking to prove the doubters wrong following a defeat to Lee Selby earlier this year.
"It was an amazing feeling when the referee waved it off," said Warrington. "I remember getting into the ring and looking down at the officials' table and seeing the belt on the side. I looked at it and really wanted to win it.
"When the referee stepped in, you could see on the TV footage, I was overwhelmed. A lot of hard training had gone into that, a lot of people had written me off but I proved everybody wrong and did the business.
"We had worked on Samir in the gym and we knew the first six rounds would be tricky but we knew in the second half of the fight we would get to him. I knew I had to be patient and stick to my boxing, but that I would eventually get to him and break him down.
"I knew I had to start upping it in gear and start putting more pressure on him as the fight went on and it paid off in the end.
"Saturday is similar to that. A lot of people might think that Rendall is a step up too soon for me but I think I am ready to be at this level now. It is an opportunity for me to show myself at this level.
"I am hungrier than ever since winning that belt; I don't want to let go of it. I want to carry on going and progressing, and it is fights like these that you need to bring out the best in you and I will prove that.
"I have an amazing set of fans who come along and it is good to have them there. They follow me everywhere and there will be a few coming over to Manchester. They cheer you on from the first bell to the last.
"When you are in clinches and you might be feeling a bit tired, their shouting for you spurs you on that little bit more."
Munroe will be taking part in his 14th title fight and the gulf inexperience is not lost on Warrington, who has taken part in just one 12-rounder.
"Rendall is definitely a real tough defence - anybody who says it is an easy fight is daft, it's easily my toughest fight so far," he cautioned. "He is certainly not finished and has something to prove.
"Rendall knows it is his last throw of the dice and I have read that he is training like it is a world title fight, and that he has a lot to prove after the Selby fight.
"I am expecting the best Rendall Munroe there can be and that is what I have been training for."