Josh Warrington attempts to avenge his sole professional loss this Saturday night at Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds, as he faces an immediate rematch with Mexican dangerman, Mauricio Lara, over twelve at featherweight, at the head of a Matchroom promoted show on DAZN.
Warrington’s world suddenly and unexpectedly came crashing down in February behind closed doors at the Wembley Arena, when he decided to go toe-to-toe with the big punching visitor, and it proved his downfall as he suffered a first defeat in 31 paid outings.
Before that setback, Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs) was on course for some massive fights at featherweight, and he had vacated his IBF world title in search of the top names in the division.
This didn’t prove to be the case though, and Warrington was dropped heavily in round four by a big left hand, and he could have been stopped in that frame with little complaint.
He bravely fought through a heavy fog, and had his moments, but the early damage had been done, and eventually Lara scored a ninth round stoppage win.
Josh began the fight as a 1/25 favourite, but 23-year-old Lara (23-2, 16 KOs) ripped the form book up in a shocking victory.
The rematch throws up plenty of questions. We will see just how much damage, if any, Warrington’s heavy loss has caused and if Lara’s win was a one-off, or if he genuinely has the Yorkshireman’s number.
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Prediction: Warrington will want to learn from his mistakes from his original meeting with Lara, and he opted to trade with the Mexican, rather than stick to his pressure fighting style.
If he can correct those shortcomings from the first fight, he can box his way to a points win, but the contest may well have its rocky moments.
Taylor defends undisputed crown
Katie Taylor is looking for legacy fights, but she appears here in another defence of her undisputed lightweight crown, when she takes on Texas’ Jennifer Han.
WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO queen Taylor (18-0, 6 KOs) is a unique fighter, and, at 35, is looking to cement her standing as one of the greatest to lace up the gloves.
Her last fight proved a tough one, as she squeezed past former amateur rival Natasha Jonas via a tight decision win, and she must now deal with her IBF mandatory Han.
Han (18-3-1, 1 KO) is a former IBF champion at featherweight, where she made four defences after coming off the deck to outscore Helen Joseph back in 2015.
She was last out in February, winning all eight rounds against Jeri Sitzes in El Paso.
Prediction: Taylor should comfortably retain on the scorecards in this one.
Benn clashes with Granados
Conor Benn saw his meeting with Adrian Granados cancelled during fight week due to a positive COVID-19 test, but ‘The Destroyer’ hasn’t had to wait long, with his WBA Continental welterweight title on the line over a scheduled twelve.
This match represents another gradual step-up in class as Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) aims to gatecrash the ten stone seven division on the world stage in the near future.
The 24-year-old took on Sebastian Formella in November last year, dominating for a wide win on the cards.
Formella had taken Shawn Porter the twelve round distance just three months prior to his meeting with Benn.
Then came Samuel Vargas, who had been in with a host of stellar names, but he was no match for Benn, who scored an 80 second stoppage win in April.
Now comes Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs), a man only stopped once in eight defeats, and has taken a whole host of names at 147 pounds the distance.
His only early loss came in a seventh round knockout defeat to Danny Garcia in April 2019, and he has gone the duration with the likes of Adrien Broner, Shawn Porter and Robert Easter Jr.
🇬🇧 𝗕𝗘𝗡𝗡 𝗟𝗢𝗢𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗦𝗛𝗔𝗥𝗣
🥊 @ConorNigel goes through the paces with trainer Tony Sims at the media workout earlier ahead of his clash with @ELTigreAG on Saturday in Leeds! 💥#Boxing #BennGranados #LaraWarrington2 pic.twitter.com/opolETJKOW
— Pro Boxing Fans (@ProBoxingFans) September 1, 2021
The California-based, 31-year-old was last out in May, and was held to an eight round majority draw by Jose Luis Sanchez.
Prediction: It looks another clever piece of matchmaking for Benn here, and if he looks good, he may be able to attract some of the biggest names in his division to face him.
Granados is showing signs of a long career, but should still be able to hear the final bell, where Benn should be victorious on the scorecards.
Hughes meets Straffon for IBO belt
Maxi Hughes is having an Indian summer in his career, and the 31-year-old gets a great opportunity on this bill, as he challenges Jovanni Straffon for the Mexican’s IBO lightweight title.
After near misses in various title fights, Hughes( 23-5-2, 5 KOs) came of age last August when he upset Jono Carroll, and he followed that up in Dubai to take the WBC International title from Viktor Kotochigov.
His last fight saw him become British champion, stopping Paul Hyland Jr in eight to win the vacant belt.
Hughes is on the crest of a wave, but Straffon (24-3-1, 17 KOs) is coming off a spectacular win of his own, halting the dangerous James Tennyson inside a round in May.
Prediction: If Hughes can stay out of early trouble, he can take a clear points win.
Bridges back in action
Crowd favourite Ebanie Bridges (6-1, 3 KOs) is in action, and the Australian takes an eight round bantamweight assignment against France’s Mailys Gangloff (5-2, 2 KOs).
Prediction: Bridges is coming off a stoppage win against Bec Connolly, but Gangloff is a tough customer, and should stick around before losing a decision.
Price tackles Hussain
Leeds super bantamweight Hopey Price is one to watch, and he has his first ten rounder against the vastly more experienced Zahid Hussain.
Hussain (16-1, 2 KOs) is a former Central Area champion at featherweight, and has been the ten round distance twice, while 21-year-old Price (5-0, 1 KO) has impressed so far in his fledgling career.
Prediction: Price should come through this one over the duration.
At super welterweight, Brandon Stansfield (1-0) will almost certainly need all four rounds to see off the durable MJ Hall (2-62-2), and at light heavyweight, debutant Mali Wright can halt Antony Woolery (2-6) inside their four round distance.