Josh Warrington to face Wood vs. Lara winner says Eddie Hearn
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says Josh Warrington will get a crack at the winner of the Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara for a chance to capture Leigh’s WBA ‘Super’ featherweight world title.
Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs) will arguably be getting an undeserved opportunity to fight for a world title against the Wood-Lara winner after losing his IBF featherweight belt last Saturday night against Luis Alberto Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England.
Going onto that fight with Lopez, Hearn had talked of having Warrington challenge the winner of the Wood vs. Lara clash in a unification.
Surprisingly, Hearn is still choosing to stay with his original plan of matching Warrington against the Wood-Lara winner despite his loss to Lopez and no longer possessing his IBF title. The only thing that’s changed is Warrington will go into the fight as a challenger instead of a champion.
Lopez beat Warrington by the scores 115-113, 115-113, and 114-114. A lot of boxing fans feel that Warrington should have been docked points for his head-butting and rabbit-punching in the last four rounds of the fight.
Hearn didn’t mention the fouling by Warrington when talking in glowing terms about how he’d rallied in the championship rounds.
It’s a tough ask for the 34-year-old Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) to defeat the younger, stronger and tougher 24-year-old Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs).
Wood took a beating in his last fight against Michael Conlan and was fortunate to pull out a victory with a twelfth round knockout. If not for Conlan gassing out, Wood would have lost that fight because he was getting worked over.
If Hearn and Wood are counting on Lara gassing out as Conlan did, they could be in for a disappointment. By the time Lara does gas, Wood will have been knocked out many times over. Lara hits too hard, and Wood’s mandible won’t be able to withstand twelve rounds of continuous pounding without him falling apart.
“It was a great fight. A fight between two elite featherweights” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about last Saturday’s match between IBF 126-lb champion Josh Warrington and Luis Alberto Lopez.
“Lopez was very good; we knew that. Josh started really badly, but Lopez came out of the traps really sharp. I felt like Lopez won most of the first half of the fight, and Warrington won most of the back end of the fight.
“With four rounds to go, I thought, ‘He [Warrington] needs to win three out of four or four out of four, all four rounds to win this fight.’ I gave him three out of the last four.
“It’s difficult because you get in [the ring], and the corner goes, ‘Oh, we’ve won that.’ I said, ‘It’s very close, very close.’ When I heard 114-114, I thought, ‘About right for me.’ Two had it 115-113, and I did think, ‘Champion in Leeds. I think we’ll get this,’ and obviously, it went to Lopez.
“It’s a fight that could have gone either way. No massive complaints. I think a slow start from Josh Warrington but a great fight. That’s what happens when you’re fighting elite-level fighters.
“You know what? I don’t think a lot’s changed [for Warrington] because, before that fight, it was either fight Leigh Wood or fight in America. Obviously, he [Warrington] has to do it without a belt, which makes it a little more difficult, but we’re trying to lock in Mauricio Lara against Leigh Wood.
“You’ve seen Leo Santa Cruz has stepped away. So Leigh Wood is the super champ with the WBA, and he wants to fight Mauricio Lara, which is a tremendous fight, which we’d love to make. I think the winner of that can fight Josh Warrington.
“So it won’t be a unification, but not a great deal changes for Josh Warrington in that respect,” said Hearn.
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