Josh Warrington to defend his IBF belt against mandatory challenger Luis Lopez
It has long been known that when IBF featherweight titlist Josh Warrington next fought it would be against his mandatory challenger Luis Alberto Lopez.
However, when didn’t know when and where until now. The two teams have agreed to fight in Leeds, England on December 10. DAZN will broadcast the fight.
Warrington (31-1-1, 8 knockouts) regained his IBF 126-pound title with a bloody seventh-round stoppage over Kiko Martinez in March. The win came at a cost. The 31-year-old suffered a broken jaw and hand injury, which meant an extended absence from the ring.
Warrington, who is ranked No. 5 by The Ring at 126-pounds, went the traditional route of winning British, Commonwealth and European championships before defeating IBF titleholder Lee Selby (SD 12).
The hugely popular Leeds-born fighter made three defenses, notably turning back the challenges of Carl Frampton (UD 12) and Kid Galahad (SD 12).
He vacated his title rather than face Galahad a second time and came unstuck against Lara (TKO 9). The rematch was curtailed at the end of the second round, due to a clash of heads. He then regained his IBF title.
Lopez (26-2, 15 KOs) turned professional in 2015. He suffered defeats at the hands of Abraham Montoya (SD 10) and future world title challenger Ruben Villa (UD 10). However, those results stiffened “El Venado’s” resolve and were good learning curves.
The 29-year-old Mexican stopped unbeaten Cristian Baez (TKO 5), edged past one-time contender Andy Vences (SD 10), dominated touted prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. (UD 10) and then became the IBF mandatory challenger by impressively stopping Isaac Lowe (TKO 7) in England. He has since stayed active with two wins while patiently waiting for his world title opportunity.
Although Warrington will be cheered on, as always, by his boisterous crowd, Lopez has fought and won in England and should provide sturdy opposition, in what is expected to be an exciting fan friendly encounter.