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Josh Warrington open to Leigh Wood unification clash but targets US debut after Kiko Martinez victory

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J

osh Warrington is targeting a first career fight in America after his emphatic victory over Kiko Martinez.

‘The Leeds Warrior’ produced a superb display of power to win back the IBF featherweight title on Saturday night and put a nightmare 2021 behind him.

And while Warrington suffered from the absence of his adoring fans in that shock behind-closed-doors upset by Mexico’s Mauricio Lara 13 months ago, he once again fed off the energy of a partisan, 10,000-strong hometown crowd with a trademark relentless performance back at First Direct Arena against Martinez.

Such a crucial victory opens up plenty of intriguing future avenues for the 31-year-old, not least potentially massive unification showdowns with fellow 126lbs champions Leigh Wood, Leo Santa Cruz, Emanuel Navarrete and Mark Magsayo.

A huge all-British battle with Wood – who produced a sensational last-gasp knockout to retain his WBA ‘regular’ belt against Michael Conlan in Nottingham a fortnight ago – at either the City Ground or Elland Road is a particularly exciting option, with Warrington keen to take his legions of loyal supporters on the road next.

However, a long-awaited debut across the Atlantic clearly sits top of the wishlist with his career now firmly back on track.

“If we’ve got to go down and boot the doors off of the City Ground, away day, we’ll do it,” Warrington told DAZN after his second win over Martinez, five years after outpointing the Spaniard at the same venue.

“But for a long time we’ve been wanting to go to the States. Many of these [fans] have got their passports at the ready, their credit cards at the ready.

“We want an away day next. 11 times we’ve been here, we’ve done Headingley and we’ve done Elland Road. Let’s have an away day.”

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