Mauricio Lara destroys Josh Warrington in Wembley!
The big story of this fight prior to former IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington (30-1, 7KO) and IBF #8 ranked contender Mauricio Lara (22-2, 15KO) stepped into the ring involved Warrington vacating his title. This effectively made the fight a non-title bout, immediately dashing Lara’s dreams of becoming a champion.
Warrington decided to drop his title because the IBF would not sanction a long-time negotiated bout with WBA “regular” champion Can Xu. The two have been talking about a dust-up since Warrington’s third title defense over Sofiane Takoucht in late 2019. The bout was expected to happen in the second quarter of 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted those plans.
Still expecting to get Xu on the schedule this year, Warrington was shocked when the IBF decided he should fight former mandated challenger Kid Galahad again! He defeated Galahad in June 2019 by split-decision and had been looking to pick his next opponent. With this news, the former champion immediately dropped the belt with Lara in mind as a tune-up before the now WBA #2 ranked contender goes after Xu next.
He may have bit off more than he could chew!
SHAKING OFF THE RUST…RIGHT?
Taking fifteen months off for a guy like Warrington who took some serious challenges from May 2018 to June 2019, must have been difficult for him and it showed in the first round. His feet looked stiff and his rhythm was off. He still had the upper-hand in the round, but Warrington still found himself getting caught by a shot on the inside and slightly staggered.
It seemed this would only be temporary and once the former champion regained his rhythm, he would dominate this bout. However, that was COMPLETELY not the case!
Warrington has never been known for his defense. Furthermore, he only has seven knockouts in thirty wins but has a style where he applies heavy pressure and likes to fight toe-to-toe on the inside. Lara is the bigger puncher, albeit he hasn’t fought anyone of note in his career. Regardless, his shots seemed to keep the former champion off balance as if he had never been hit like that in his life!
Lara did an excellent job of beating Warrington to the punch on the inside, specifically the left hook to the body, the left uppercut and the right hook to the head. All shots that landed with thuds on Warrington and paid dividends as the fight went on.
SCORE ONE FOR THE UNKNOWN
In the fourth round, the two went toe-to-toe in a “Warrington-esque” type of fight. Problem was, the former champion did not expect the pop from Lara would deal as much damage as it did. In one exchange, a left hook to the body had Warrington backing up. At first it looked as if he wanted to reset, but his legs looked to be unsteady.
While stalking his opponent, Lara followed up with another combination. There was no doubt now Warrington was hurt. His legs were barely there and one last left hook to the head put him on the canvas. With his nose and mouth bloody, he beat the count. Lara, understanding he may just get the biggest win of his career by knockout, attacked with relentlessness! He completely hailed shots down on Warrington and it looked as if the referee would stop the bout.
With twenty seconds left in the round, the referee allowed Warrington to escape. However, the inevitable was to come.
THE FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL
Warrington put himself into “retreat mode” as the fight went on. As mentioned earlier, his style is to take the fight to his opponent and out-work them. Therefore, this came as a surprise and didn’t seem to be a plan that would work. On his back-foot, he was gun-shy and didn’t have the footwork to comfortably keep himself out of harms way. It was easy for Lara to cut the ring off and wail on his opponent only to rinse and repeat.
Of course there were moments where he tried to take the fight to Lara, but he was clearly inferior in strength and he couldn’t take the big hooks that would come in the exchange.
Lara stalked and beat-up a damaged Warrington for five more rounds until it would all end in the ninth. In the first half of that round, the stalking continued until a combination staggered Warrington again. He tried to stay afloat, even throwing shots back but would get caught and floored again with another flurry of shots that ended in the same left hook that floored him in the fourth. This time for good as the referee didn’t even administer a count!
A NEW MAN IN TOWN
Lara did it! The IBF #8 ranked contender who was relatively unknown prior to this bout marched into the famed Wembley Arena and knocked out the undefeated former champion! If Warrington’s belt had been on the line, this would be a major story similar to how WBO featherweight champion Emmanuel Navarrete came to prominence.
This is a massive upset and a crazy end to the story of Warrington vs Xu. You can say this is a crazy end to the possibility of Warrington vs former WBO champion Shakur Stevenson and WBC champ Gary Russell Jr! Both are bouts boxing fans hoped to see in the future.
Now it looks like the former champion may have to go back to the drawing board as this will definitely change the course of his career!
By: EJ Williams