Josh Warrington admits the pressure is on him ahead of main event vs. Mauricio Lara

2 min read
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Josh Warrington expected to be gunning for world featherweight title unification at the start of 2021. Instead, he must get past formidable opposition in the form of Mauricio Lara before he can even think about returning to the world championship scene.

Their Feb. 13 main event was at one point going to see the Leeds man put up the IBF title against the WBA belt of Can Xu, only for that match-up to fall through. With the IBF refusing to sanction the re-arranged date of Apr. 24, Warrington instead opted to hand the title back to the governing body.

His new opponent has a lot of experience for a 22-year-old, and is ranked in the top 10. So, if Warrington wants to one day meet the likes of Xu and Gary Russell Jr. to decide who is the best in the division, he will have to get back down in the trenches and emerge victorious in what promises to be all-out war.

However, the 30-year-old wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's a massive moment for me, but 15 months is a very long time for any athlete to be out of action," said Warrington at the pre-fight press conference.

"My mugshot’s all over this room and all over the hotel. There’s a lot of pressure on me but I’ve matured. I’ve got a potential banana skin in front of me in Mauricio Lara but I was already prepared for war.

"I feel that mark on the top of my head. This man here has no pressure, I’m a big fan of Mexican boxers because they wear their hearts on their sleeves. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t want to fight any tin cans.

"I have to strike while the iron’s hot. I can’t afford to be spending the next two years fighting to get back to where I am now.

"It’s all glamour to say I’m the number one in the world at this weight, but it’s got to be proven in the ring as well. I’ve beaten the big names but I’m still not satisfied, I’m still not full in the belly.

"I’ve come through the long, long road from the early days. I don’t want to bore everyone to death with the story. It’s hard work but I’ve taken each stage as it has come.

"I’m 10 times the fighter I was when I won the British title, but it’s only because of tough fights like this. I want no soft touches. Every fight going forward makes my legacy."

Warrington vs. Lara airs Saturday on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, and on DAZN everywhere else. Sign up now to enjoy six big live boxing events in February alone.

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