Upset special in London: Mauricio Lara delivers TKO9 win over Josh Warrington
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – February 13, 2021 – Six weeks into 2021, fight fans got the first shocking upset of the year. Undefeated featherweight Josh Warrington of Leeds, England (30-1, 8 KOs) took a drubbing from 22-year-old Mauricio Lara of Mexico City (22-2, 15 KOs), who stopped Warrington in eight rounds.
Lara, fighting for the first time outside Central America, showed no fear of Warrington, pressing the action. Warrington won the first three rounds, but he wasn’t the fighter last seen in the ring 16 months ago. Lara kept the power shots coming, and in the fourth round, he changed his life. Lara dropped Warrington with a hard left hook coming at the end of a multi punch combination of shots. Warrington got up on shaky feet. Referee Howard Foster would have stopped nearly any other fight right there, but he gave consideration to the undefeated champion, and Warrington survived, wobbling back to his corner.
For the next four rounds, Lara was in control. Warrington never got his legs back under him. He bravely carried on but didn’t have a lot to offer. In the eighth round, Lara launched the left hook again at the end of a five punch series, hitting Warrington flush and The Leeds Warrior was down for good, the battle lost. Warrington must have been relieved not to have Wembley Arena packed with his customary Leeds United fans carrying on.
Warrington gave up his IBF belt after refusing his mandatory challenger Kid Galahad, fighting Lara instead. There will be a serious reckoning about this decision after the horrible outcome for Warrington against Lara, the first knockdowns, and first stoppage loss of his career.
The elated Lara said after the fight there was a “bit of sadness” he hadn’t won a title after his effort, “but we will get the belt in the future.”
“I’m simply happy for my family and all the people back home in Mexico. We worked really hard for it, it worked out how we planned. Thank you to everyone in the UK for the warm welcome we received. Our confidence was because we believed we could do it,” said Lara.
Lara said he believed he could finish off Warrington in the fourth round, but staying patient was the plan. “We were working round by round. It did work out as we planned. In terms of that round, I didn’t want to pressure him and tire myself out. Warrington is number one in the world for a reason.”
Eddie Hearn: ‘Crushing blow’
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has been here before at the hands of another underdog with Mexican heritage after Andy Ruiz Jr. stopped Anthony Joshua.
“That’s why it’s the best sport in the world, isn’t it? “ said Hearn. “You have a young man from Mexico City, 22 years old. Comes in, no one gave him a chance. We knew he could fight. We didn’t know he would beat the number one ranked featherweight in the world, and he did. So we have to give him tremendous credit.”
Hearn said Warrington appeared concussed after the fourth round. While commending his bravery, he said it was hard to watch him continue.
“For Josh Warrington, it’s a crushing blow. It’s back to the drawing board. It’s looking at the future. This isn’t the kind of environment he’s used to 16 months out of the ring, but no excuses. He got beat by a hungry young Mexican fighter who changed his life tonight” said Hearn.
Rematch likely between Lara and Warrington
Hearn indicated Warrington would want the rematch after a long rest. “He’ll be back. I daresay when he recovers, he’ll want to take this man on again.”
Lara said he looked forward to celebrating back home in Mexico with his family. While he took some damage to the face over the right eye, he was bouncing and hopped up on adrenaline after the right. He’ll likely want to take his new status out for a spin. Warrington was reportedly heading for a fight with Can Xu of China, who is promoted by Golden Boy. A fight between Lara and Xu in front of Mexican-American and Chinese-American fans in Southern California seems like a no-brainer.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.
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