It was always going to be tough for Josh Warrington to prevent Lee Selby from completing a fifth successful defence of his International Boxing Federation featherweight title.
But, with 25,000 fans roaring him on at Elland Road, the Leeds United supporter shook off the underdog status to upset his 31-year-old rival in a thrilling 12-round contest.
Warrington produced a career-best performance to beat Selby 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112, extending his impeccable professional record to 27-0, 6KOs.
Speaking soon after the fight, he claimed the home ground advantage played a huge part in his victory.
“I really can’t put it into words. I’ve worked hard over the last 18 weeks,” Warrington told BT Sport 1, per the Guardian.
“I got into this ring tonight with the expectation of this city on my shoulders. I’m overcome with emotion. We worked on game plans but that all went out of the window and it was sheer grit and determination and this crowd got me through.”
On the other hand, his opponent was gutted after the second loss of his career marked the end of his three-year reign in the featherweight division.
As such, Selby has taken to Twitter to post an emotional message to his fans.
“I would like to thank everyone for all their support this week. I was Britain’s longest reigning World Champion but it came at a price and I felt that in the ring last night.
“I’ve been making the featherweight limit for 10 years but it was just one fight too many at that weight and my performance badly reflected that.
“Congratulations to Josh Warrington and I wish him the best in the future.
“I will enjoy the summer with my family and then sit down with my team to plan the exciting new challenge of becoming a two-weight world champion.”
It’s safe to say few boxing fans outside Leeds expected much of Warrington, but that certainly changed on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old could now be set for a trip to Belfast to take on former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton in August.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms