Warrington v Lara 2: Leeds-filled undercard leaves Josh Warrington beaming with pride

WHATEVER the outcome of his rematch with Mauricio Lara on Saturday night, Josh Warrington will still be able to leave Headingley with a great sense of pride.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:45 pm
LEEDS LADS: Hopey Price, left, and Zahid Hussan, right, will do battle for the IBO international title, pictured with promoter Eddie Hearn, on Saturday night. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

That will come from watching the first set of fights on the undercard, with a strong contingent of Leeds-born boxers getting the opportunity to showcase their talents on the big stage.

Undefeated super bantamweight Jack Bateson will aim to extend his professional record to 14-0 against Felix Garcia.

Mali Wright then steps through the ropes for his pro debut before Brandon Stansfield aims to go 2-0 after winning on his debut in 2019. Super bantamweight prospect Hopey Price will then do battle with fellow Leeds boxer Zahid Hussain for the IBO international title.

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Many of those younger or less-experienced fighters have paid tribute to Warrington for paving the way for upcoming professional boxers in Leeds and he admits he feels a real sense of pride as he casts his eye over the fight card for Saturday evening.

“Hopey shared a video the other day when he was 14, maybe even younger, and I am giving him a trophy at his club show down in Hunslet,” said Warrington.

“Seeing them guys come on and progress, it is a proud moment for me.

“When it is all said and done, for me, I want to go to the arenas and stadiums and see them headline big shows and have big title fights. Hopefully, I have been an inspiration to those lads on the undercard.

DEBUT: For Mali Wright. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

“I am just a lad off an estate and, if they can see me do it, hopefully they will believe they can as well. That means a lot to me, to have that homegrown talent on there.”

Saturday night will be the first time that Warrington has stepped out to fight in front of a crowd for almost two years.

“I am unbeaten in stadiums, I am unbeaten in Leeds,” laughed Warrington, whose record stands at 30-1.

“I am ready to fight now. I am at that stage where I have gone over the game-plan a million times and I am ready to put it into practice now.

“With sparring, there is only so much you can do. Opponents can mimic Mauricio Lara but the only man who is like Mauricio Lara is the man himself. I just want to get in there and go to work.”