‘This has become personal’: Mauricio Lara promises another destructive performance against Josh Warrington on Saturday… after he shocked the world with a stunning stoppage victory earlier this year
- Mauricio Lara insists he will defeat Josh Warrington once again this Saturday
- The Mexican, 23, shocked the world with a stunning knockout win in February
- Lara says the fight is now ‘personal’ after Warrington’s post-fight comments
- The Yorkshireman has stated he overlooked his heavy-handed opponent
- Watch Lara vs. Warrington 2 live on DAZN – sign up now
Mauricio Lara sent shockwaves around the sporting world in February as he brutally knocked out the featherweight division’s finest, Josh Warrington. And on Saturday night, he vows he’ll do the same again.
The little-known 23-year-old, 22 at the time, who had two defeats on his then 24-fight record and just a month to prepare for the bout, was barely given a puncher’s chance in the build-up to what was expected to be a routine outing for Warrington, who was simply meant to shed some ring-rust after 16 months out before moving onto more glamorous affairs.
Warrington had history in mind, vacating his IBF strap in search of the Ring Magazine belt with future bouts against then-WBA champion Xu Can and WBC king Gary Russel Jr firmly in the pipeline.
But Lara – who was supposed to be a mere speed bump in the journey – proved to be anything but, as he derailed his opponent’s plans in nine destructive rounds. And in truth, it could – and perhaps should – have been a shorter night for the Mexican.
The seriously impressive and disconcertingly heavy-handed Lara had a jelly-legged but quintessentially tough Warrington on the canvas twice, first in the fourth round, before referee Howard Foster finally waved off the bout in the ninth, with the Yorkshireman suffering a fractured jaw, a shoulder injury, a perforated eardrum and requiring an elbow operation.
Mauricio Lara (L) shocked the world with a stunning victory over Josh Warrington in February
Referee Howard Foster waved off the fight after nine brutal rounds, in which Warrington was knocked down heavily twice, though showing immense heart throughout
Now just days away, Lara agrees the rematch will be unlike the first encounter. But the Mexican insists his opponent is in for a rude awakening if he’s planning on appeasing the Yorkshire crowd as they headline a jam-packed card at Headingly Stadium in Warrington’s home city of Leeds.
‘I think it will be different,’ Lara said. ‘I think he’ll come with a strategy and he’ll also be looking to put on a good show for his supporters. But I think that would almost be suicidal against me, because we have a clear strategy and one that is going to bring the victory.’
He added: ‘There’s absolutely no fear (of fighting in Warrington’s back yard). I think Canelo (Alvarez) said that before, “no fear”, and that’s something I feel as well. Going into September 4, regardless of how many people will be there and shouting, it’s just me and him in the ring – and that’s what I’ll be focusing on.’
British boxing is becoming rather acclimatised to a ‘repeat-or-revenge’ scenario, as seen when Anthony Joshua avenged his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, and when Dillian Whyte put his gruesome knockout defeat to Alexander Povetkin behind him with a one-sided stoppage rematch win just a few months ago.
The Brits eventually prevailed in both occasions, which many are anticipating will happen once more. That includes Warrington, who has subsequently spoken of overlooking Lara in their first bout, even admitting he watched his opponent warming up on fight night thinking, “he’s not in my league, there’s no way he’s going to win”.
Brits Anthony Joshua (L) and Dillian Whyte (R) were both victorious in their recent rematches
But Lara has been angered as Warrington insisted he overlooked the Mexican, with the 23-year-old stating a full camp will only make him more destructive this time round
Unsurprisingly, Warrington’s comments have left Lara angered, and he now aims to prove that he was, and still is, simply a better fighter. And with a full camp under his belt, he insists he’ll only be more dangerous.
‘The worst thing you can do is underestimate someone, particularly me,’ he explained. ‘I’m going to show on September 4 that it wasn’t luck, it wasn’t coincidence.
‘If you think last time I only had a month to prepare for the fight, this time I’ve had four. So if you saw what I was capable of doing after a month of preparation, well imagine what I can do after four.
‘There’s a lot of effort that goes into this to create what happened,’ he added. ‘That’s why it motivates me hugely. This has become personal. I feel that he really underestimated me and I think that was a big mistake.’
Following his stunning victory, entirely novel expectations are now placed upon Lara’s shoulders. Having fought outside of Mexico just once, in Argentina, prior to their first bout, the youngster felt he had nothing to lose ahead of his historic scalp.
Now, he headlines a mammoth event in front of a 20,000 crowd. Lara is surely on the periphery of a world title fight and another whopping payday – an opportunity that would likely evaporate with defeat.
Lara and Warrington previously squared off at a behind closed doors The SSE Arena, Wembley
But the previously little-known Lara is now the centre of attention and headlines in front of 20,000 fans at Headingly Stadium in Leeds, the home city of Warrington
Mauricio Lara’s record
Win streak: 12
But does he feel the pressure? ‘No, not at all,’ he explains. ‘I will be able to repeat what I did. In terms of the fight, you can look at what Josh Warrington will bring. He’ll know what to expect from me, but I’ll know what to expect from him – so if anything I go into this with more confidence, knowing what I’m able to do.’
But on the other end of the spectrum sits Warrington, who at the age of 30 and coming off the back of a damaging defeat is heading into a truly career-defining match-up. With victory, the Yorkshireman can re-embark on his quest for a place in history. With defeat, that quest perhaps dwindles to a halt.
It’s a prospect Lara admits makes Warrington a more dangerous challenge, but the Mexican insists any pre-fight plans or ambitions his opponent may have will fast depart when he feels the power once again.
‘Yes, it will be dangerous,’ Lara agreed, when asked whether he’ll be facing a different Warrington this time round. ‘And he’s also at home so that can make him feel more dangerous.
‘But you have to ask the question, why are we fighting in his back yard? There might be a little bit more pressure on our side, but we’re really confident we’ll be able to carry out our plan.
‘He’ll need to have a lot of plans,’ he added. ‘Because once he does feel that shot on September 4, that first hard punch, he’s going to struggle.’
Lara insists Warrington’s plans will crumble the second he connects with his first punch
For Lara, the plan is now to take over the featherweight division; he wants to be No1. And this time, it’s Warrington who is the speed bump in the journey. But while his eyes are firmly on the prize, Lara does admit his famous victory has changed his life forever.
‘Right now, that doesn’t feel that important to me,’ Lara said when asked about the financial gain from his first victory. ‘But it’s true that it is life changing and a big thing for my family. Personally, it’s something that makes me very happy and something you dream of when you come into boxing.
‘You do think about the economic side of things, but at the same time I box because I’m passionate about it. I would almost fight for free.’
He added: ‘My life changed significantly after the first fight. I’m not just talking economically, but from an emotional point of view.
‘It made me a better person, a better boxer, it showed the world – if they didn’t already know – that Mexican’s have this power, and we have the balls when it comes to fighting. It doesn’t matter where we fight, it makes no difference.
‘And if I go on to win, I’m prepared to face whatever champion gives me the opportunity.’
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