Josh Warrington: No doubt I'm No.1 after beating Carl Frampton

Can Warrington beat 'the best boxer in Britain' Frampton? (1:59)

Josh Warrington will defend his IBF title in a featherweight clash with Carl Frampton, ESPN's Steve Bunce gives his prediction. (1:59)

Josh Warrington, once known as the boxing tooth fairy, hopes people will begin to believe in him as one of the world's best featherweights after Saturday's fight with Carl Frampton.

The IBF world featherweight champion makes a first title defence at the Manchester Arena against Frampton (26-1, 15 KOs), live on ESPN+ in the U.S. and on BT Sport Box Office in the U.K.

Warrington (27-0, 6 KOs), 28, is a hero in his home city of Leeds and 20,000 cheered him to a points win over Lee Selby for the title at Elland Road in May.

But Warrington says he feels he still needs to convince people of his ability beyond his Yorkshire fanbase in northern England, and hopes to do that with a career-best win over Frampton, 31, who lost his No.1 status in the division when he lost the WBA belt in a points loss to Leo Santa Cruz nearly two years ago.

"When I win this fight, it will put me up with the best in the division," Warrington told ESPN.

"He's ranked No.1 in the rankings above me in Britain. There was a doubt when I fought Lee Selby about who would be No.1 but there won't be any doubt after this.

"I'm going to announce myself on the world level with this fight by beating Carl, and I want to then unify the titles.

"I would love the fight against Oscar Valdez, and I will show in this fight I belong in the Champions League, not just the Premier League.

"I think many, many people underestimate me, and I don't take it personally. People have their opinions, but I think if the Lee Selby fight didn't make people sit up and take notice, after I'm finished with Carl on Dec. 22, they will definitely take note."

Warrington used to be called "The Tooth Fairy" because he worked part time making dentures earlier in his boxing career. It was hard for Warrington, juggling the two careers, but his efforts were rewarded when he fulfilled his lifetime ambition earlier this year and his journey is portrayed in a compelling documentary, "Fighting For A City."

"If I had a pound for every time I heard something like 'he knocks out teeth at night and makes new ones in the morning' I would be a millionaire," Warrington said.

"Between being 19 and 23 years old it was solid. I was working during the day, studying at university with assignments at the same time, training five days a week, trying to sell tickets and promote myself as well as trying to have a normal life and seeing my now wife.

"One of my pals said he was proud of me and that made me stand up tall when I needed it most. I needed to just put it in during that period and I still am. It's not going to last forever so I need to put it in now.

"Boxing is a passion, the love of my life, and it has always come first. If I wasn't a boxer, I wouldn't have been a dental technician. I needed a job behind me just in case it went wrong. I didn't have sponsors coming out my backside like some boxers do. I needed a job so I could buy equipment, gloves and shorts.

"Boxing is my passion and it was what I was doing as a kid. I had a goal of winning the British title, and I've gone beyond that. You have to love what you do and for me boxing is strangely addictive. It makes me feel alive. After a while of eating McDonalds and fried breakfasts after a fight, I miss being in the gym and the routines."

Warrington, who left school with 11 GCSEs before starting his professional boxing career nine years ago, is a hero around Leeds -- just as Frampton is in Belfast, Northern Ireland -- and says he is feels a sense of responsibility to win for his local community.

"There's a massive sense of responsibility and you have to keep on winning," Warrington told ESPN.

"There's a pressure that they expect you to win and sometimes they forget there's someone sitting in the opposite corner who wants to beat you.

"I use it as a motivation to keep on winning for the people and keep the journey going for everyone. Some of my pals I've known since school were saying my last fight was the best day of their lives, but when their granddads are saying it too it's something special and I want to keep on making memories.

"Carl is from a working-class community and still in touch with his fanbase, so he knows what it's like.

"I built my fan base by going around to pubs and working men's clubs selling tickets to my fights after I had done a day's work. They get the personal connection to me and it grows and grows. That's what has happened to me over the years.

"There comes added pressure with that but at the same time I use it as motivation. When you have that fan base you try and use it to your advantage.

"I will have a cup of tea with folk when I go around with their tickets still. It gets me out delivering tickets and I still do it now, though I don't do as many now though as I used to. I used to be out until midnight selling tickets before fights."

Life has not changed much for Warrington as world champion, and he is still craving recognition from beyond Leeds.

"I'm living in a 17-bed mansion and going to Leeds games in a private helicopter," joked Warrington.

"No, there's been no change. I get stopped a bit more in the supermarket and do a bit more media, but I'm still the same old me."

Josh Warrington: Fighting For A City is now available on DVD and digital download