Josh Warrington stormed into Headingley to the strains of ‘I Predict A Riot’, but not even the Kaiser Chiefs could have predicted the ending we got to this highly-anticipated fight. An accidental clash of heads in the second round left Mauricio Lara with a gruesome cut above his left eye, leaving the referee with no choice but to stop the fight. Due to the fact less than four rounds had been completed, the deeply unsatisfying ending was a technical draw.
There were encouraging signs in the two completed sessions for Warrington. The Leeds fighter, roared on passionately by 20,000 of his closest friends, looked to exorcise the demons of seven months ago. On that February night, ‘The Leeds Warrior’ was stopped in nine rounds by Lara in a shock result. He started more cautiously this time, working from behind a high guard. Warrington absorbed the Mexican’s punches on his gloves, before countering with a high-quality right. Lara landed a warning shot of a right before the local hero answered with a cultured left hook.
Josh showed more discipline in the second, and sadly final, round. Starting on the back foot, he made Lara miss in the early going before bringing some body shots into his arsenal. The fateful clash of heads took place, and ‘Bronco’ looked pained by the impact. At this point the cut looked minimal, and the action resumed. Lara moved Warrington with a body shot, but got ripped with an excellent left hook on the inside. The action was warming up nicely, with some bright 50-50 exchanges. As the shots began to fly between the two featherweights, the cut noticeably worsened, and by the time the bell rang it looked very severe indeed.
Lara’s team tried to send him out for the third round with the cut completely coated in petroleum jelly, but referee Steve Gray demanded it be removed. The jelly hid a horrendous wound, and upon doctor’s inspection the decision was made to call the fight off.
With Lara likely to be sidelined for months, promoter Eddie Hearn expressed his desire to get Warrington back into the ring as soon as possible, before looking for a trilogy fight when the cut has healed. Warrington, for his part, is dead set on a rematch. But with Josh barely having broken a sweat, and facing a lengthy wait for Mauricio to be cleared for another go-round, he could do a lot worse than fight in the interim. For now, we are left to lament the premature end of a fight that promised a feast, but delivered only an appetising amuse-bouche.