Leeds Warrior Josh Warrington itching to get back in the ring - exclusive

Josh Warrington is “eager” to get back in the ring and feels he should be walking straight into a world title fight whenever the time comes for him to step back between the ropes.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 20th November 2021, 11:50 am

The Leeds Warrior’s highly-anticipated rematch with Mexican Mauricio Lara in September ended in disappointing fashion after the bout was ruled a technical draw.

That decision was made at the end of the second round in front of a packed-out Headingley when Lara was unable to continue due to a deep cut above his left eye caused by an accidental headbutt.

Warrington does not want to wait around for a third fight with the Mexican. Lara handed the former IBF featherweight champion his only career defeat with a shock win in February.

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Josh Warrington and Mauricio Lara show their frustration after their fight ended in a technical draw in September. Picture: Steve Riding.

Warrington had hoped to exercise the demons from that loss at Headingley in September but was frustrated as the bout ended in a huge anti-climax.

Lara’s injury was severe, meaning it will take him a long time to return to action and Warrington is in no mood to hang around any longer.

When eyeing a world title bout, there are options out there for the Leeds fighter.

Leo Santa Cruz has been WBA champion since January 2017 but has not defended his belt since February 2019, after stepping up in weight class without being forced to vacate his title.

Gary Russell Jr. is one of a number of boxers Josh Warrington could fight next. Picture: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images.

WBC champion Gary Russell Jr has not defended his belt for almost two years and was last in action in February 2020. WBO king Emanuel Navarrete has been the most active of the featherweight champions based in the Americas after defending his crown on two occasions this year.

The most recent of those wins came in October.

Warrington could also try and win back the IBF title he vacated before his defeat to Lara after Kiko Martinez claimed a stunning win over Kid Galahad last weekend.

However, that route looks unlikely given reports that Galahad will exercise a rematch clause to try and win the belt back.

Emanuel Navarrete could be a possible next opponent for Josh Warrington. Picture: Mikey Williams/Getty Images.

“It is ongoing, it has been over 10 weeks now since I last boxed and I am eager to get back out,” said Warrington of plans for his next contest.

“I am itching to have something announced so I have something to aim for.

“Mauricio Lara is going to be out for some time, people are asking me about the rematch but I can’t put my whole career on hold for Lara.

“I am still a big name in the world of boxing, with my profile and what I have achieved. I had one blip but I was ranked number one in the world for nearly three years.

“I would like to have a fight with Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr., Emanuel Navarrete and Kiko Martinez is a world champion now as well.

“There are a lot of options available. From a fans’ perspective it is exciting.”

Warrington was in action for an exhibition bout in Leeds last weekend.

A show organised by promoters VIP Boxing had fighters drop out late on before Warrington stepped in with training partner and IBO lightweight champion Maxi Hughes to save the show which was held at the Royal Armouries.

“It was the fact that a few fights had fallen off the show and it was a case of the show being pulled or us coming along to give the fans something,” said Warrington.

“There were two lads making their debut and we got asked to do it to help the show.

“It didn’t take long for us to say yes, it was a case of helping the show.

“It was nice to have a little bit of fun, it will maybe be my first and last exhibition fight but I enjoyed it.”