Josh Warrington says Luis Alberto Lopez is “coming into the lions den” on Saturday
By Jim Calfa: Josh Warrington is counting on his fans to give him the energy to defend his IBF featherweight title against mandatory Luis Alberto Lopez this Saturday night on December 10th at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. Warrington vs. Lopez will be shown live on DAZN.
Hopefully, there’s no controversial scoring in the Warrington vs. Lopez fight that taints the outcome. We just need a conclusive decision and not cuts marring the outcome.
It’s bad enough that Warrington’s last two fights in Leeds have resulted in nasty cuts to his opponents from head clashes. The last thing Warrington and his promoters at Matchroom Boxing need is a controversial decision or a fight-ending cut.
Lopez (26-2, 15 KOs) is a risky fight for Warrington because he has talent, and he can win this match if he can avoid getting cut to pieces from likely head clashes.
If Lopez had more power, he might be able to bang Warrington out before he’s cut too badly for the fight to be halted. Lopez isn’t that type of a puncher, though.
Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KOs) recently won the IBF 126-lb title, stopping Kiko Martinez in the seventh round last March in a fight filled with accidental head-butts by the 32-year-old Leeds native.
Fans still want to see Warrington face Mauricio Lara in a trilogy match because there’s unfinished business after the last time they fought. That was a fight that Warrington repeatedly crashed into Lara with the crown of his head.
Although the head clashes were accidental, it looked to some boxing fans that Warrington had intentionally done so to avoid getting knocked out again by Lara like he’d been in their first fight last year in February.
Hearn worried for Warrington
“I feel a bit for Josh Warrington because this is a tough fight. Lopez is the dangerman in the featherweight division. He’s the mandatory challenger,” said Eddie Hearn to Pro Boxing Fans about Luis Alberto Lopez.
“I keep saying to Josh, ‘Just win this one, and then you’ve got Leigh Wood unification, and then you’ve got the big U.S fight.’ That’s true, but I guess the casual fans and the Leeds faithful don’t know how good Lopez is. We do, and it’s a very, very dangerous fight.
“He’s got his work cut out, but he’s a tremendous fighter, and he’s got huge support in the arena. It’s going to be wild in there on Saturday, and it’s going to be a great fight.
“Whenever you’ve got two Brits that are world champions, you should look to make a unification fight,” said Hearn when told that Warrington wants to come to the U.S. to take on WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz.
“Josh has always wanted to go to America, and if there’s an American fight as a unification, then I think it’s something that’s not going to be ignored. At the same time, my preference would be to make the Leigh Wood fight at Ellen Road, City Ground, whoever it’s going to be, I think it’s going to be a huge fight,” said Hearn.
Warrington expects Leeds crowd to help him
“He’s blasted out a few guys over in the States and in Mexico, but I’m not them guys,” said Josh Warrington during today’s final press conference for his fight with Luis Alberto Lopez on Saturday.
“I’ve always been an underdog. Any fight at this level is always going to be a hard fight because he’s got himself into mandatory position,” Warrington said.
“He’s coming into the Lion’s Den. They can’t be in the ring with me, but it’s a f***ing hell of an atmosphere! I feed off that energy,” said Warrington.
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