Eddie Hearn believes Josh Warrington has a tough test ahead of him when he takes on Mauricio Lara at Wembley on Saturday night but says that should he win, a shot at The Ring magazine belt is being lined up for spring.
The Leeds Warrior hasn’t fought in over a year and Hearn says that for Warrington, one of the most followed boxers in Britain, fighting without a crowd could be an interesting challenge.
“He’s got a fight lined up with Can Xu or Gary Russell Jr at the end of April, early May. He’s been out a long time - 14, 15 months - I think the big test for Warrington is fighting behind-closed-doors,” Hearn told the Betfred Boxing Show.
“We know this guy’s one of the biggest ticket sellers in the country - it’s going to be a very strange atmosphere for him in there. Can he be motivated enough against a very tough Mexican in Mauricio Lara? Someone who’s come in to transform his career and his life.”
Warrington has faced and overcome tough tests in the ring, like Carl Frampton and Lee Selby, but Hearn thinks that Lara will offer Warrington a different sort of challenge and won’t be stopped easily.
“He’s not as good as Josh Warrington quite frankly but what he is; he’s very, very tough, he can punch as well, and he’ll be in there until the end. As long as he can stay on his feet and keep trading - he’ll be doing so.”
Earlier this year Warrington vacated the IBF title he’d held since beating Lee Selby in 2018 when the governing body refused to sanction a unification clash with Xu and instead ordered a mandatory with Kid Galahad, whom Warrington beat in 2019.
Hearn now thinks that this could be a big turning point for boxing, “Josh Warrington is so desperate for a major fight, so much so that he vacated his championship belt and I think this is a big moment for boxing where we see fighters stand up and say ‘Look, I’ve become world champion, I’ve defended it multiple times against some big fighters and now I need to fight the very best and if my mandatory stops me from doing that I’ll let go of the belt, because I need to fight Gary Russell, I need to fight Can Xu, I need to fight [Emanuel] Navarrete’ and what he really wants is that Ring magazine championship.”
“He’s ranked number one with the Ring magazine, that belt’s vacant and now he needs a dance partner and hopefully that’ll come in late spring.”