Josh Warrington still hopes to fight in America next despite Mauricio Lara draw

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Josh Warrington will press ahead with plans to make his American debut despite the unsatisfactory ending to his rematch against Mauricio Lara at a sold-out Headingley Stadium on Saturday.

The pair’s second meeting was declared a technical draw following two rounds after the Mexican was deemed unfit to continue by the ringside doctor due to a cut caused by an accidental clash of heads.

Warrington could not hide his frustration with the premature ending – insisting it “feels like a loss” – but is determined to fulfil his long-held ambition to lead thousands of his supporters to a big fight in the United States.

Boxing – Emerald Headingley Stadium
Josh Warrington’s bout with Mauricio Lara was declared a technical draw (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“The plan was to win this and go to the States next, maybe around Christmas or next year,” said Warrington. “I would take one over there next, even without a title, because my fans deserve it”.

Warrington’s US dream is hindered by a relative lack of bargaining power with the featherweight division’s big names, having relinquished his IBF version of the title prior to his calamitous first meeting with Lara last February.

But while a third meeting with Lara would carry strong currency, the cut will take some time to heal and in the meantime Warrington has shown no inclination to face one of two British title holders in Kid Galahad, whom he has already narrowly beaten, and Leigh Wood.

Warrington’s frustration was increased by his growing belief that he would have dispatched Lara, who stopped him in the ninth round of their first bout, with relative ease had the contest been allowed to take its natural course.

Boxing – Emerald Headingley Stadium
Mauricio Lara sustained a cut that ended his bout with Josh Warrington (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I did feel I exorcised the ghost of that first loss in the first round a little bit, but I would have liked to have exorcised it a bit more,” he admitted.

“Coming in off a loss I did doubt myself and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. But in the last 15 minutes of the warm-up I felt like I could be put in front of anyone and I would win.

“When I walked to the ring that feeling went up tenfold. On that podium I felt like a God and I wasn’t going to let anybody beat me – I felt possessed.”

Warrington’s eagerness was evident in a first round in which he landed by far the cleaner work, but Lara had already begun complaining to referee Steve Gray about his opponent’s alleged use of the head.

Boxing – Emerald Headingley Stadium
Josh Warrington had been bidding for revenge over Mauricio Lara (Zac Goodwin/PA)

In a more even second, Lara began catching his come-forward foe, but it was after a clash in the centre of the ring that the Mexican reeled backwards in evident discomfort, with Gray instructing the ringside officials to take note of an accidental head-butt.

At the end of the round, the ringside doctor examined a cut that had opened around Lara’s left eye and instructed Gray to call the contest off. Because fewer than four rounds had been completed, the rules stated it had to be declared a technical draw.

“I didn’t do it intentionally,” said Warrington. “I had to stay tight to him and we both stepped forward with our chins out and our heads down.

“I think he knew he was in trouble. He was complaining about everything right from the start. I am a bit of a mental case and I don’t know if the ghost of Mauricio Lara is going to haunt me, and the thought of what might have happened next.”

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