Josh Warrington ready to retire if he fails to win summer rematch with Mauricio Lara as former IBF featherweight champ admits: ‘There is no f****** point hanging about’ if he can’t beat unfancied Mexican
- The Leeds warrior suffered a shock defeat to the little-known Mexican
- He believes a number of ‘little things added up’ to his flat performance
- Warrington plans to exercise clause for summer rematch with Lara
Josh Warrington admits he will probably retire if he fails to exact immediate revenge for his shocking defeat by Mauricio Lara.
The former IBF featherweight champion was chillingly knocked out by the unfancied Mexican, 22, in the eerie silence of the Wembley Arena bubble earlier this month.
It was Warrington’s first professional defeat and the 30-year-old is now gambling on winning a rematch on his return this summer.
Everything is on the line for Josh Warrington as he prepares for Mauricio Lara rematch
The first fight with Lara was supposed to be a final stepping stone before he conquered America. Now, Warrington admits, everything is on the line.
‘More or less, yeah,’ he said. ‘There is no f****** point hanging about. If I can’t beat this guy, I’m not mixing it with (WBC titlist) Gary Russell, no one is going to believe I’m going to mix it with him or (WBO king) Emanuel Navarrete.
‘What’s the point? Maybe I could step up to super featherweight for a payday… I’m not prepared to do that because it’s a hard sport so if I can’t get through this guy, then it’s like: what are you going to do Josh? I think that goes to show how confident I am of beating him in a rematch… I’ve been eating Ben and Jerry’s for the past week but I’d fight him tomorrow’
Warrington was floored twice during a remarkable nine rounds, when he looked a shadow of the relentless whirlwind that beat Lee Selby and Carl Frampton.
Warrington was floored twice during his shock defeat by the Mexican on February 13
He believes he never recovered after being caught in the first round and cannot remember the punches that sent him to the canvas in rounds four and nine.
The Leeds Warrior believes a number of ‘little things added up’ to his flat performance.
Warrington admits he peaked four weeks early and was ‘overcooked’ come fight night. Stablemate Reece Mould’s defeat on the undercard also ‘put a bit of a dampner on the changing room.’
Crucially, too, Warrington finished his warm-up around 30 minutes before leaving his changing room and was then hit by the lack of heat in an empty arena.
The Leeds Warrior believes a number of ‘little things added up’ to his flat performance
‘It was like I was too relaxed,’ he admitted. ‘It was like I was having a sparring session with a novice. I got in the ring, I bounced off the ropes, looking at him like: “F****** hell, bless him, he’s filling a void here.” I’m winking at him and stuff like that, I’ve never had that mindset.’
Warrington added: ‘All through fight week, I was in the mindset of: this is massive. And then when it came to fight day, I had my feet up. I was too relaxed.’
He is not the first British fighter to suffer an upset behind closed doors – both Dillian Whyte and Daniel Dubois were badly beaten in recent months, too.
Warrington plans to exercise rematch clause with the 22-year-old Mexican this summer
And Warrington says his fight-week routine was knocked out of kilter by life in the bubble. Normally he likes to be around friends and his young daughters. Instead, isolation took its toll.
‘I felt confident when I was around people but when I went back to my room I turned into a bit of an headcase, constantly thinking about different scenarios. I probably burnt myself out being in my room,’ he said.
‘I don’t like the old Mr T, lock yourself away: “I train alone, I live alone, I fight alone”…I’m a bit of a people’s person.’
Following the defeat, a video call from heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua helped put Warrington’s mind right. He discussed the psychology of bouncing back with Joshua, who avenged his own shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jnr in 2019.
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