In a stunner Featherweight contender Mauricio Lara scored a devastating ninth round stoppage over previously undefeated former IBF Featherweight world champion Josh Warrington on Saturday night at the Wembley Arena in London, England. Lara, who was viewed as a significant underdog against Warrington, who only recently relinquished his world championship, found that he was the stronger of the two fighters early as he frequently found openings to land hard thudding hooks to the head on Warrington. In round four, Lara nearly ended the fight when he dropped the former world champion hard with a combination highlighted by a left hook to the head. Warrington was able to beat the count on very unsteady legs, but was allowed to continue and miraculously made it out of the round, despite appearing to be out on his feet.
From this point in the fight on, Warrington did not appear to be recovered and continued to take vicious punishment. Although the former champion showed tremendous heart by trying to fight on, Lara’s harder punches were clearly the story of this fight. Lara brought an end to the fight in brutal fashion by dropping Warrington with right hook to the body followed by a flush left hook to the head. The fight was immediately stopped as Warrington was out on the canvas. Official time of the stoppage was :54 of round nine. Mauricio Lara advances to 22-2, with 15 Knockouts. Josh Warrington falls to 30-1, with 7 Knockouts.
Also On This Card:
Jr. Lightweight Zelfa Barrett scored a controversial twelve round unanimous decision over former IBF Jr. Featherweight world champion Kiko Martinez. Martinez consistently applied pressure on Barrett throughout and seemed to be the effective aggressor as well. Barrett had some success in catching Martinez as he came forward particularly during the second half of the fight. Barrett suffered a cut over the right eye due to an accidental clash of heads in round seven. Despite the appearance of what might have been a close fight down the stretch, all three judges scored the fight in favor of Barrett by wide margins at the conclusion of the bout. Official scores were: 118-111, (On two scorecards) and 116-113 in favor of Barrett. Zelfa Barrett advances to 25-1, with 15 Knockouts. Kiko Martinez falls to 41-10-2, with 29 Knockouts.
In a battle for the vacant British Featherweight championship, Leigh Wood scored a devastating ninth round stoppage of previously unbeaten Reece Mould. At times a tactical Boxing match, other times a give and take battle, the two fighters had no reluctance to engage each other from the outset. In round three, Mould appeared to show he was the harder puncher of the two as he staggered Wood with a left hook to the head and appeared to have him in trouble. Wood would turn the ebb and flow in his favor however, in round four with a combination to the body followed by an uppercut to the head that sent Mould down to the canvas. Mould would show an ability to recover, got up from the knockdown, and seemed to be in a position where he was back in the fight in the middle rounds. In round nine however, Wood would bring the fight to a sudden conclusion when he connected with a perfectly timed flush counter left hook to the head that sent Mould down for a second time. Although Mould was able to get up, he was compromised and seeing he had his opponent in trouble, Wood pressed forward and landed a follow-up combination to the head that sent Mould down for a third and final time in scary fashion forcing the bout to be immediately stopped.
Despite the brutal way the stoppage came, Mould was able to leave the ring under his own power. Official time of the stoppage was 1:03 of round nine. Leigh Wood advances to 24-2, with 14 Knockouts. Reece Mould falls to 13-1, with 6 Knockouts.
Rising Jr. Welterweight prospect Dalton Smith scored a dominant third round stoppage over a “Gane”, but overmatched Ishmael Ellis. From the opening bell, Smith forced Ellis on the defensive and displayed a full range of offense throughout. After three rounds of one-sided combat, the corner of Ellis had seen enough and stopped the fight shortly after the end of round three to prevent their fighter from further punishment. Dalton Smith advances to 7-0, with 6 Knockouts. Ishmael Ellis falls to 11-4, with 0 Knockouts.
Jr. Featherweight Ivan “Hopey” Price remained undefeated with a one-sided six round decision over late substitute Daniel Mendoza. For the entire six round bout, Price used his 5’10 height and counter punching to get the better of the 5’5 Mendoza, who was unable to get anything effective done on the inside and simply could not land anything significant from distance. Official score from Referee Robert Williams was 60-54 in favor of Price. Ivan Price advances to 4-0, with 1 Knockout. Daniel Mendoza falls to 11-12, with 4 Knockouts.
Unbeaten Featherweight prospect Ibrahim Nadim scored a six round decision over veteran Jonny Phillips to begin the evening and advance his record to 3-0. Official score from Referee Robert Williams was 60-55 in favor of Nadim. Ibrahim Nadim advances to 3-0, with 0 Knockouts. Jonny Phillips falls to 5-6, with 2 Knockouts.
This card, which was the first for promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing in 2021 proves the saying that this observer has said many times over the years is indeed true. “Anything Can Happen At Any Given Time In The Sport Of Boxing, And That Is What Makes It So Great.”
Here you had a card featuring prospects, one British championship bout, a little controversy, and ultimately a shocker in the main event in a lightly regarded contender scoring a devastating knockout over one of the best fighters in the world, who due to the political elements of the sport chose to relinquish his world championship in the weeks prior to this fight. Josh Warrington’s status as one of the top fighters in the 126lb. Featherweight division will certainly be impacted off of this knockout loss to Mauricio Lara, but while others may focus on what may have gone wrong both before and during the fight, no one can take away from the heart he showed in this fight.
As someone who is always looking out in the best interest of the sport and the fighters that compete in it however, I feel the fight should have been stopped in the fourth round as it was clear in my view that Warrington was out on his feet and while one can never take away from a fighter’s courage, sometimes a fighter needs to be protected from themselves and the punishment Warrington sustained after the fourth round including the brutal knockout in round nine was unnecessary. You never want to see a fighter take one punch too many.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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