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Mauricio Lara: Josh Warrington is a total warrior

Photo by Dave Thompson
19
Feb

Beaming Mexican Mauricio Lara smiled through a swollen right eye recalling the night that changed the immediate trajectory of his life.

The unheralded challenger to Josh Warrington caused one of the biggest upsets in a British boxing ring in years when he stopped The Ring’s No. 1 featherweight in Round 9 of their Wembley war last weekend.

Of course, it wasn’t a shock for the young Mexican who is now 22-2 (15 knockouts) but he conceded that although he got to Warrington early, nearly stopping the former IBF titleholder in the fourth, he had felt the pace of the fight.

“Sure,” he said, via a translator on Zoom. “It was of course a tough fight, that’s why he was No.1… but we worked for it and we got the win. I think with all he said it made me work harder. I think it’s not a good idea to make long-term plans having to fight me first.”

Lara was referring to comments Warrington had made in the build-up, saying he didn’t want the fight, that he’d hoped for showdowns with the likes of Can Xu and Gary Russell Jr.

That fuelled the challenger.

“It was excellent [in the U.K.],” he added. “I felt motivated out there and I felt motivated walking to the ring. I think nothing really mattered apart from him and I in the ring and it showed.”

Warrington has said he wants the rematch and promoter Eddie Hearn said they want it in front of fans in a stadium in the summer.

Lara wants to go again, too, but whether there are fans (“It’s the same. It’s exciting both ways”) or not he doesn’t mind.

“I would like to fight whoever is next but I’d really like a rematch with Warrington so I can show it wasn’t a coincidence and that I can do it again,” he said, adding when asked whether he contractually had to fight Josh again. “Yes, and I’m very pleased with that option so I can show what I’m capable of. It will be a war [again] but it will be faster next time.”

Lara is now waiting for the swelling to go down around his right eye before he recommences training but it won’t be long before he’s back in the gym. He also paid tribute to Emmanuel Navarrete, whom he’s sparred with in Mexico.

“We learn everything [together] and we learned a lot from it, I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Lara.

One of the major talking points came post-fight about whether Warrington should have been stopped in or after Round 4. Lara thought it should have ended then.

“I think he should have been pulled out but he’s a total warrior and he showed it and we should give him credit for that,” Lara said. “I think he’s better than we saw on the night, but still, we can do better too.”

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