By Scott Gilfoid: Josh Warrington was in damage control mode this week, attributing his ninth-round KO loss to Mauricio Lara last year to him looking past the fight towards a title shot against then WBA featherweight champion Can Xu.
The way that Warrington (30-1-1, 7 KOs) is minimizing his loss to Lara, he seems to be under the impression that he’s closed the chapter on that sad event in his career after his rematch last September.
For those foggy on the details of that fight, Warrington was like a Billy goat let loose inside the ring. Warrington needed a set of horns, and he would have been a carbon copy of a little upright goat on the night.
Poor Lara never stood a chance, getting rammed repeatedly by Warrington until a massive cut opened up over the Mexican slugger’s right eye, resulting in the fight behind halted after two rounds.
The right was ruled a two-round technical draw despite Lara having worked Warrington over in both rounds. The fight took place in Leeds. As far as Gilfoid can tell, Warrington came close to winning none of the two rounds before the fight was halted due to the cut.
This Saturday night, March 26th, Warrington will be fighting for a world title against IBF featherweight champion Kiko Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) on DAZN at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, UK.
This is a rematch for these two fighters, as Warrington beat Kiko by a questionable 12 round majority decision in 2017 in Leeds.
“Kiko comes forward, he throws a lot of punches, he puts immense pressure on, and he’s a spiteful puncher,” said Josh Warrington to iFL TV. I’ve grown and am five years older.”
Warrington’s promoter Eddie Hearn is already planning his next fight against WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Leigh Wood if he’s victorious on Saturday night against Kiko. No mention has been made about Mauricio Lara, who is the one that should be fighting for a world title.
“There was a time when I used to want to throw sevens and eights in terms of combinations nonstop,” Warrington continued. “These days, I’m a little bit more reserved and focused more on my punches.
“I think I’m a little bit wiser in what I’ll do on Saturday. I was shocked because I didn’t expect him to get caught by shots like that,” said Warrington about Martinez stopping Kid Galahad in his last fight.
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) March 23, 2022
“Fair play to him. It just shows anything can happen in this sport. I think in the build-up, Kid was mentioning a lot about [Emmanuel] Navarrete and unifications. He took a couple of percentages off and paid the price for that.
“100%, I made that mistake against Mauricio Lara,” said Warrington. “The first time around, I was laughing & joking around about what I was going to do in my next camp getting ready for [former WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion] Can Xu, and obviously, I made it back to my changing room and straight to the hospital.
“I think it’s different to the other one because Can Xu was a fight that was set, and the posters had been made. I was ready to rock & roll for the next one to get back to London, get in the gym and go again.
“There are a lot of things that can become a distraction, but I’m not going to let it become a distraction this time. I’m fully focused on Saturday night,” said Warrington in minimizing his loss to Lara by blaming it on him not being focused.