Eddie Hearn has warned Las Vegas to get ready for a “wild” night of boxing after Josh Warrington regained the IBF featherweight crown.
Warrington delivered a devastating display to stop Spain’s Kiko Martínez at a raucous First Direct Arena in his home city of Leeds on Saturday night and become a two-time world champion.
The “Leeds Warrior” is now back in prime position with regards a career-defining world unification fight and Matchroom Sport chief Hearn is ready to turn his American dream into reality.
Hearn said: “I just think it would be wild. It’s hard to say Ricky Hatton-esque because that was just amazing. But Josh would take 10,000-plus to Vegas and it would be, I mean they’d have to prepare for it, Vegas. I know Vegas is a wild place, but they’ve seen nothing like this. We took 800 once to Germany when Josh had an eight-rounder, 800, and they’re are still getting over that, not the 800, Germany. So it would be wild.”
Warrington, 31, had slipped down the pecking order after his previous two fights in 2021, which saw him knocked out by Mexico’s Mauricio Lara before their rematch ended in a technical draw. But he was back to his whirlwind best in front of his army of fans against Martínez, knocking him to the canvas in the opening round and finally halting the Spaniard in the seventh.
The Yorkshireman did not come through unscathed against a teak-tough opponent and later required surgery to repair a broken jaw and left hand.
Hearn said: “Because we’ve got a television deal in America – normally you’d hope that you can make a fight with someone else – but we can use one of our dates in America for that. Really, it’s [WBA super-featherweight champion Leo] Santa Cruz or [WBO champion Emanuel] Navarrete, that’s the two unifications.
“But at the same time Leigh Wood is there. City Ground? I think if you asked Josh, he would say, ‘I want the American one’. But the Leigh Wood fight is a big-money fight. It’s a really good fight as well, really good.”
Wood, 33, defended his title in sensational style in Nottingham earlier this month, knocking out Michael Conlon in the final round. Hearn added: “It’s up to both of them. If Josh says no, Wood doesn’t get it. If Wood says no, Josh doesn’t get it. It’s going to take a lot to deter Josh from the American fight. You’ve got to ask how many has he got left? One, two, three?
“If you don’t take it now you may never get it. I think he’d do 20,000 at the City Ground, travelling. And I think Leigh Wood would do 20,000 from Nottingham. I’m not even sure it can hold 40,000, but whatever it was, I think they’d both fill it and you don’t normally get that do you? Rarely do you get half-and-half in a 30,000-seat stadium, so it would be pretty special.”