DESPITE suffering a shock knockout loss to Mauricio Lara on February 13, Josh Warrington is adamant that he will rematch the unheralded Mexican next, and retire if he is not victorious.
He sees little point continuing his career if he cannot secure a revenge win over Lara. “There’s no f***ing point hanging about. If I can’t beat this guy, I ain’t mixing it with Gary Russell. No one’s going to believe that I’m going to mix it with Gary Russell, no one’s going to believe I’m going to mix it with Emanuel Navarrete if I can’t even beat his fellow countryman. So what’s the point? Maybe I could step up at super-feather for a payday. But I’ve been an A-side for a long time,” he said, “being there for a payday, I’m not prepared to do that because the sport’s a hard sport and if I can’t get through this guy, what are you going to do?
“I think that goes to say how confident I am of beating him in a rematch and how bad I want this fight really.”
He is heaping further pressure on himself by setting the stakes so high. But regardless of the punishing nature of his defeat, Warrington insists it’s a risk he has to take. “For my own mental self, I don’t think I’d be able to settle if I knew that other people are going in there and blasting this guy out. For my own mentality, I need to know that I can come over this hurdle,” he said. “For instance I watched Oscar Valdez at the weekend. Now I’d still love that fight, probably all you guys would say you’re going to get your head punched in. Last week prior to it [the loss] you might have said that would be a good 50-50 fight. Now you’d say it’s not and I understand why you’d say it’s not. But this is why I need to come back, squash that one there whether it be a 12-round dominant performance or me knocking this guy out, I need to do it for myself, up there [in his head]. If I can’t then I’m calling it a day, it’s simple as that. I don’t think I struggled with the weight, I think the camp was fantastic, there was just a few little things what added up, in terms of the warm up on the night, the 15 month inactivity … but I know I can squash them.”
“I’d fight him tomorrow. I’ve been eating Ben & Jerry’s for the past week but I’d fight him tomorrow,” he added. “I do believe 99 times out of 100 I beat that guy, the exception being that weekend.”
The rematch is likely for August or September. Warrington does need to recuperate from some injuries. The first fight with Lara was a gamble, before it Warrington vacated his IBF title so mandatory commitments couldn’t derail his hunt for a big fight with Can Xu. The gamble backfired. A rematch is an even greater risk for Warrington but he hopes it can put him back in the frame for major contests.
“I’d like to think it would do, but you know what it’s like,” he said. “Even if I right this wrong, I still don’t think I’m going to be back straightaway. But I don’t mind being an underdog. I don’t mind being pushed down the scale again. I seem to thrive off that. Listen, I like to think I can get back to where I want to be. Maybe the other guys, like Gary Russell Jnr think it’s an easy fight now. Maybe Can Xu or [Leo] Santa Cruz think, ‘Let’s fight him. Josh has shown his weakness.’ Maybe I do get those fights. But it’s how you bounce back.
“We’re all delicate about that unbeaten record. There’s plenty left in the tank.”