King of the Ring is legacy Josh Warrington aims to leave

JOSH WARRINGTON does not want his career to be defined by a feud with Kid Galahad as he aims to be remembered as one of the best featherweights of his generation.

By Ben McKenna
Saturday, 13th February 2021, 6:00 am
Ready for action: Josh Warrington ahead of his fight against Mauricio Lara. 
Picture: Mark Robinson/courtesy of Matchroom Boxing
Ready for action: Josh Warrington ahead of his fight against Mauricio Lara. Picture: Mark Robinson/courtesy of Matchroom Boxing

The ‘Leeds Warrior’ will step between the ropes tonight for the first time since October, 2019 as he faces Mexican Mauricio Lara at Wembley Arena.

His long-awaited return to action was due to be for the IBF featherweight title but the 30-year-old gave up his belt after the organisation had ordered a mandatory defence against Galahad, whom Warrington beat in June, 2019.

Warrington wants to be recognised as the best featherweights in the division and feels winning the much-coveted Ring Magazine belt would cement him as number one.

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The Leeds-born fighter was the only British champion who was out of action for the entirety of 2020, as boxing got to grips with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak derailed plans for Warrington to face WBA champion Can Xu at Headingley in a unification bout last summer, although the pair could still face off later this year.

Having lost a year of his career to the pandemic, Warrington is in no mood to go over old ground with Galahad when there is the potential for fights with WBC champion Gary Russell or WBO king Emanuel Navarrete.

“My career is not going to just be about Kid Galahad, or Lee Selby and Carl Frampton,” he said.

“There are other big names out there I want to add to my resume. The likes of Gary Russell, Can Xu and Emanuel Navarrete, there are other big fights out there.

“I am a boxing fan and all you want to see is big fights. As fighters, especially in a pandemic, we will be fighting a maximum of twice a year.

“I don’t want to be having steady defences, never mind all that. Get me in the big fights.

“If I could have my way, it would be Can Xu next and then Gary Russell after that. I just want to keep having those big fights while the momentum is there and whilst I am in my prime years.”

The Ring Magazine belt is seen as the defining title in each division, with the holder recognised as the best in a certain weight class.

There are several world champions in each weight division and when asked if there should be one champion per weight class, Warrington said: “That would be lovely, wouldn’t it?

“The belts add more glam to the fights. For me, the Ring Magazine belt is that defining number one because it looks over all of them.

“I think it should be easier to make the big fights happen. I think with mandatory fights and everything else, it makes it a little bit difficult.

“It is not the first time we have seen this happen. I know there are other politics in there like different broadcasters and different promoters but the belts can be a stumbling block as well.”

Lara has arrived in England determined to prove he will not be easily cast aside by Warrington.

A shock win for the Mexican would further frustrate Warrington’s hopes of fighting another top-ranked featherweight, and he is in no mood to let that happen.

He added: “There is never an easy fight, regardless of what anyone says, you are still taking those punches to the face. If you go in there with a blasé attitude, that is when things go wrong.

“You have got to go out there and perform, he is going to be trying to hurt me and I have got to beat him to make those next fights happen.

“Nobody likes to lose and nobody loses and goes straight into a unification fight.

“I am 30 now, I don’t want to add another two years to my career getting back up there because I took my eye off the ball.

“I am fully focused on Saturday.The fight came at short notice but we have adjusted.”

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