Josh Warrington attempts to avenge the loss from Mauricio Lara in February.
There is no room for error this time. A repeat loss to the Mexican could spell the end of the former IBF featherweight champion’s career.
“When you evaluate after and you watch it back, my toes were curling and thinking ‘what were you doing, Josh? Why were you behaving like that?’” he said. “Breaking it down it was silly stuff – throwing far too many punches, being just stood straight in front of him, and it’s like – Come on man that is amateur stuff!”
“I was trying to fight fire with fire. I didn’t start boxing until I got knocked down and then in the fifth round when I was making it easy for myself. But by that time I had damaged my shoulder when I went down, my jaw was hanging off, my ear was busted, I was half concussed and it was probably too late then.”
Warrington admits that he made the mistake of taking Lara lightly. That is not surprising as, not only was he little known, but he was brought in as a late replacement after a fight with Can Xu was scrapped.
Lose again and Warrington, 30, will be facing the end of his career. He is certainly not taking Lara lightly this time.
“I don’t build him up as ‘the man who has beat me’ but I do build him up as someone who can potentially hurt me and do this and that,” Warrington said.
“In the past, I’ve always built opponents like that and I’m expecting Mike Tyson or King Kong to come to me and when the first bell goes and they’re not bringing that it is a bonus. I’ve built Mauricio as a dangerous fighter and someone who can cause a lot of damage, and I know he can cause a lot of damage anyways because he’s done it in the past.”
“But I’m not thinking back to old events, I’m just thinking of the game plan and that I stick to it, make sure I don’t get carried away with dropping my hands and coming back in straight lines, thinking I can throw shots from back here and get away with it. It tightens everything up when you have that bit of fear.”
The loss to Lara not only put paid to another world title fight, it put a dent in his hopes to box in Las Vegas, something he was hoping to do this year.
“Time’s a healer,” he said. “If you’ve got a worldie of a girl and she leaves you, you’re devastated, and you think your world has come crashing down. But eventually, you go out and find another girl and she’s the love of your life. For the first six or seven weeks, I was dealing with injuries and that covered up all the thoughts of losing.
“I had a fractured jaw, I had to have an operation on my elbow, I had a damaged shoulder, my eardrum was perforated. I didn’t really leave the house because I was kind of embarrassed and I didn’t want to bump into folk and them asking me ‘what happened Josh?’.”
“For six weeks, I was recovering. Then when I went to the Parker-Chisora fight [in May in Manchester], that’s when it hit home because that should have been my night, that should have been my re-organized fight with Can Xu. I was driving back from Manchester that night on the M62 and I broke down after that, probably the lowest I’ve ever been.”
The two weeks after that were his lowest point.
“I just had my head in my arse, just moping around the house, I couldn’t be bothered about anything,” he said. “The garden was piled up with dog sh!t and I couldn’t be bothered going out and dealing with that.”
“It got to a stage where I thought I could do something about it or just keep moping about, so I dusted myself off and got back in the gym when I could. I thought I’m not the only fighter in boxing who’s lost and that’s where my mindset and motivation changed.”
Warrington said it was a chat with Anthony Joshua, who told about how he felt after losing to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, helped him put matter in perspective
“He said I would get to a stage where I would just want to get back on the horse or f— the game off completely,” Warrington said.
“After moping about the house, I thought of that. I thought I can do something about this. I thought to myself am I just going to throw my toys out of the pram and keep sulking? No, I can do something about this. I just had a good word with myself.”