January 30, 2023

Through Jim Calvin: Josh Warrington is counting on his fans to give him the energy to defend his IBF featherweight title against mandatory Luis Alberto Lopez on Saturday night, December 10 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. Warrington vs. Lopez will be broadcast live on DAZN.

Hopefully there isn’t a controversial score in the Warrington vs. Lopez fight that tarnishes the outcome. We only need an adequate decision and no cuts that distort the outcome.

It’s bad enough that Warrington’s last two fights in Leeds have resulted in nasty cuts to his opponents through headbutts. The last thing Warrington and his promoters need at Matchroom Boxing is a controversial decision or a messy divorce.

Lopez (26-2, 15 KOs) is a risky fight for Warrington because he has talent, and he can win this bout if he can avoid being cut to pieces by likely headbutts.

If Lopez had more power, he might be able to knock out Warrington before he cuts too hard to stop the fight. Lopez isn’t much of a puncher though.

Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KOs) recently won the IBF 126-lb title, stopping Kiko Martinez in the seventh round last March in a bout filled with accidental headbutts by the 32-year-old Leeds native.

Fans still want to see Warrington play Mauricio Lara in a trilogy match because there are unfinished business after the last time they fought. That was a fight that Warrington repeatedly bumped into Lara with the crown of his head.

While the head clashes were accidental, it seemed to some boxing fans that Warrington had done this on purpose to avoid being knocked out by Lara again as if he had been in their first fight in February last year.

Hearn was worried about Warrington

“I feel a little bit for Josh Warrington because this is a tough fight. Lopez is the dangerous man in the featherweight division. He is the mandatory challenger,” Eddie Hearn told Pro Boxing Fans about Luis Alberto Lopez.

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“I keep telling Josh, ‘Just win this one, and then you have Leigh Wood unification, and then you have the big American fight.’ That’s true, but I think the casual fans and the Leeds faithful don’t know how good Lopez is, we do, and it’s a very, very dangerous fight.

“He’s done his job, but he’s a great fighter and he has huge support in the arena. It’s going to be wild out there on Saturday and it’s going to be a great fight.

“When you have two British who are world champions, you have to look at a unification fight,” Hearn said when told Warrington wants to come to the US to face WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz.

“Josh has always wanted to go to America, and if there is an American fight as a unit, I think it is something that will not be ignored. At the same time, my preference would be to have the Leigh Wood fight at Ellen Road, City Ground, whoever it will be, I think it’s going to be a huge fight,” said Hearn.

Warrington expects the crowd in Leeds to help him

“He shot some guys in the United States and Mexico, but I’m not those guys,” Josh Warrington said at today’s final press conference before his fight with Luis Alberto Lopez on Saturday.

“I have always been an underdog. Any fight at this level is always going to be a tough fight because he put himself in a mandatory position,” said Warrington.

‘He’s coming to the lion’s den. They can’t be in the ring with me, but it’s a great atmosphere! I feed off that energy,” Warrington said.

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