Josh Warrington: There’s Plenty More Left To Come, That’s For Sure

Josh Warrington sat in his children’s Christmas play just three days after losing his world featherweight title to Luis Alberto Lopez with a pair of sunglasses on.

They were partly to hide his facial injuries from the many young children in the hall but it was also to prevent having to talk to anyone about the numbing defeat to the visiting Mexican the weekend before.

“Call it ignorant, call it whatever the f— you want. I didn’t care if I looked like a d-ck,” Warrington tells BoxingScene.com.

“The kids had a pantomime on the Tuesday after the fight and there was no way I’d miss that – it just meant I sat in there with a pair of sunglasses on. Half of the reason was I didn’t want to scare anyone with my black eyes but also because it meant I wouldn’t catch anyone’s eye and then have to engage in conversation.”

Warrington knows exactly how it feels to suffer a surprise defeat on home soil and the feelings that follow. When he was stopped by Mauricio Lara in 2021 he admitted he could not even go to the shops in the weeks that followed because he was too embarrassed.

But despite the sunglasses, the 32-year-old has matured in the two years since then and says the response he has gleaned from the man in the street will encourage him to box on.

Warrington adds: “So many people I’ve bumped into have said: ‘well you’re not done yet are you?’ And when I told them no, they said ‘good, because we’re all still behind you’. They say they’ve still got the credit card ready to go for a big Vegas fight.

“There will be one or two who drop off and think the Warrington train is done but there are many who have reassured me they’re still behind me. That means the world to me.

“I couldn’t bow out like this. I haven’t gotten banjoed from pillar to post for 12 rounds. It was a majority decision and a fight of two halves. Many people thought I had done enough, so there’s plenty more left to come, that’s for sure.”

But although he sounds bullish now, Warrington admits he has endured sleepless nights since the judges handed Lopez a majority decision and therefore the IBF title.

“I might say goodnight to my mrs and then lie in bed and my mind is flashing back to fight night,” he explained. “For about a week afterwards, every time I tried to go to sleep all I would see was him celebrating. I had to get out of bed.

“But there’s f— all you can do about it – it’s done – and that’s the frustrating thing about it. But time is always a healer and it’s easier to manage now we’re six weeks after the fight. Now when my mind goes back to the fight it just makes me hit the bag a little bit harder.

“After about four or five days of sulking and not saying much at home I thought that it’s not fair on my family, on my kids to be acting like that. I’ve been in this position before where they’ve suffered – when I lost to Lara.”

So how did the pain of this defeat compare to that one?

“This one was probably worse to be honest,” he says. “The Lara fight was a massive shock to me and it looked worse than the Lopez because I got banjoed for nine rounds and then knocked out.

“Maybe I felt on that one I had to just turn up and get the job done but for this one the circumstances were different. I thought I had put myself back in the picture by winning the world title again and unification fights could have come if I had won this fight.

“What has been harder on this one has been the hindsight – what I should’ve done. I started extremely slowly but once I switched on I started to dominate the fight so when I lost I just thought – f—— hell. I’m very critical of myself. It’s the hardest thing I’ve had to live with; if I had started faster, won one or two rounds earlier, then he might not have even seen the final bell.

“I still haven’t watched it back. There would be plenty to take from watching it though. It was about a week before I watched the Lara fight – and that should have been worse, watching myself getting beaten up. But there will be a lot of frustration watching this one back. I’ll probably have to get up and walk out of the room but give me another week or so and I’ll watch it back.”

After taking a break over Christmas, Warrington is now back in the gym and plotting a return to action in the coming months and will be keeping a close eye on the Nottingham Arena next month when his compatriot Leigh Wood and Lara collide on February 18 for the WBA title.

He said: “I’ve spoken to Matchroom and they know what we bring to the table, they know it wasn’t a massive one-sided defeat where I got badly beaten. If I had got the decision we’d be talking about unification fights right now.

“I think they still realize that me against Mauricio Lara or Leigh Wood is still a big fight for Matchroom. Wood is a stadium fight, either at Elland Road or Nottingham Forest – and Lara has been talking about wanting to retire me. So either one works.

“What I do know is I’m the underdog again and that suits me fine. All of a sudden people are saying I’m finished. Just hearing that is enough to ignite a fire inside me. It’s motivation. When they start writing you off I just want to try a little bit harder to prove them wrong.”

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