Warrington v Lara 2: Headingley re-match with Mauricio Lara could re-open world-title doors for Josh Warrington

Josh Warrington does not need to be told twice how important Saturday’s contest with Mauricio Lara is - with the Leeds Warrior admitting another slip-up will be detrimental to his future world title hopes.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 9:21 am

The 30-year-old is out to avenge the shock defeat he suffered at the hands of Lara in February.

Warrington hopes to treat the 20,000 fans at Headingley to a victory and thrust himself back into title contention in the featherweight division.

“I only see myself winning,” he insisted.

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Josh Warrington makes his point to Mauricio Lara ahead of Saturday's re-match at Emerald Headingley, watched by promoter Eddie Hearn. Picture: Steve Riding.

“The journey continues for Josh Warrington on Saturday, believe me.”

The former IBF champion has had time to reflect on the first contest with Lara, as his perfect record in professional boxing was quashed by the hard-hitting Mexican.

He admits he lost focus on the task in front of him, with more title fights waiting for him if he had emerged victorious.

“I always feel pressure. It doesn’t matter what kind of fight it is, there is always pressure on it,” continued Warrington.

Leeds Warrior Josh Warrington is looking confident going into Saturday's featherweight re-match with Mauricio Lara at Emerald Headingley. Picture: Steve Riding.

“Boxing is not like any other sport. You can’t have too many slip-ups. You have to keep on winning for your career to progress.

“I know that if I slip up, I am not looking at world titles anymore.

“Fighting in front of a big audience brings pressure, even though that is an advantage.

“But I am prepared for it and that is why we do it.”

Warrington sustained a number of injuries in his first meeting against Lara and, having had time to watch the fight back, he admits his initial reaction was: “‘What the hell were you doing Josh man?!’

“I was more just disappointed in myself more than anything.

“Seeing the mistakes, Mauricio capitalised on them as he saw them as well.

“I couldn’t believe how open I was.”

He continued: “I know what to expect, I know what Mauricio brings. I know about the power in his punches, how he moves and how he is going to approach the fight.

“Coming off a load of injuries, it has taken a bit of time to get to 100 per cent recovery.”

The last time Warrington boxed in front of his own fans - or any crowd for that matter - he scored a devastating knockout win over Sofiane Takoucht as he claimed victory over the Frenchman inside two rounds.

That was the third successful defence of his IBF title, which he vacated earlier this year.

The Leeds Warrior feels he will thrive off the energy of the Headingley crowd on Saturday evening.

“Two years ago, I was world champion and I had just had a third defence of my title,” reflected Warrington.

“Last time I boxed in front of a crowd, it was a hell of an occasion.

“It was an unbelievable atmosphere. Having boxed back in February, it was a weird scenario.

“I can’t wait to be back in front of the noise and the energy the crowd brings.

“I know there are other potential fights that could happen but I am pushing that to one side. All I am focused on is Saturday.”

The ferocity of the 20,000-strong support might come as a shock to Lara, who is set to compete in front of the biggest crowd of his career.

“He is only a young lad and he has not boxed in a crowd like this and certainly not a crowd so aggressive and so passionate,” added Warrington.

“It will be interesting to see how he handles it.”