Warrington was strong on lap four and eliminated on lap nine
Josh Warrington fell to one of the biggest shock defeats in any British ring in recent years when Mauricio Lara landed a stunning knockout at Wembley Arena.
22-year-old Mexican Lara landed a heavy knockdown in the fourth round, and Warrington struggled to strike the bell. His legs could barely support him.
Warrington – a 1-25 betting favorite – never recovered despite showing grit and trying to find balance.
On the ninth, a barrage of left hooks and a hard left hand put him out.
The former IBF featherweight world champion, who hadn’t fought in 16 months and gave up his belt in January to pursue other titles, was left flat on his back and later taken to hospital for check-up.
“That’s why it’s the best sport in the world,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
“A young man, 22, comes in, no one has given him a chance. I haven’t seen courage in a long time like I’ve seen him from Warrington. He never recovered from the fourth.”
“It came out, it was unpredictable, the ring rust showed. It was caught and never recovered. I will never find out how it got through the fourth, but it was empty. The courage was incredible.
“You must do Lara a tremendous honor. It is a devastating blow to Warrington.”
Josh Warrington had never lost in 30 fights before facing Lara
After a reckless opening that left both fighters leaking in their defense, it was Warrington who withered when a heavy attack and his left hand dropped him. Despite fighting to the bell and referee Howard Foster intervening, the former champ could have had no complaints.
“If Josh survives this it will be one of the biggest comebacks I’ve ever seen in a British ring,” tweeted former world champion Tony Bellew.
Warrington spent the early part of the fifth in survival mode but seemed fully aware that his legs were shaking under him and that his corner could be heard in pain by the time the three minutes were up.
Lara, who was on the verge of the victory of his life, gained confidence. He made his own shots and was sturdy rather than polished, but when he hit two hard punches in the eighth and still immediately backed Warrington with a blow of his own, the greater force he was carrying was evident.
A lap later it was all over, a right to the body and a left to the face that sealed a knockout victory that will be felt all over the world, no more than in the boxing-crazy home of Lara.
Some will wonder if Warrington’s 16 months of inactivity was key; others will wonder if he looked past his opponent.
Whatever his reasoning, he will get the bones out of an initial loss in 31 games, a loss no one could see.
More will follow.