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By David A. Avila

An eagerly-anticipated rematch between England’s Josh Warrington and Mexico’s Mauricio Lara ended in a technical draw after the fight was stopped by the referee on the advice of the ringside physician after only two rounds due to a severe cut over the Mexican fighter’s left eye.

“I’m absolutely gutted,” said Warrington. “These fans paid serious money to see me get redemption.”

Revenge will have to wait for Warrington.

Lara (23-2-1) and Warrington (30-1-1) were both eager for different reasons in the main event on Saturday at Headingley Rugby Stadium in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds. Fans were loud and anxious to see the result. But not a technical draw.

The last time they met Lara shocked England with a knockout win over Warrington who had promised a win by knockout. Instead, the power shots of the Mexican fighter turned things around last February.

This time would be different said Warrington.

For the first two rounds Warrington used a tight guard to offset the power shots of Lara. It was a different fight with the British fighter respecting the power of the Mexican fighter this time around.

But a clash of heads during an exchange of punches in the second round resulted in Lara pulling out with a bad gash over his left eye. The referee immediately signaled that a clash of heads caused the cut. After the second round ended, the referee was advised to stop the fight.

“It was looking to be an absolute thriller,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “I’d like to get Josh Warrington back in the ring.”


Undisputed lightweight world champion Katie Taylor showed why she’s among the best to ever lace up the gloves with a solid performance over former featherweight world titlist Jennifer Han on the Lara-Warrington undercard. The popular Taylor (19-0) figured out the shrewd tactics of American fighter Han (18-4-1) and proceeded to do what she always does, dominate a fight.

After Han showed her variety of skills, Taylor seemed a little puzzled especially by the holding tactics whenever the two fighters got close to each other. But soon she shifted into using her speed and it was clear that speed was the difference.

Taylor did score a knockdown in the eighth round, though it was more Han off-balance than her being hit that put her on the canvas. Still, the referee ruled it a knockdown.

Han never offered much more until she refrained from holding as much in the final round. She showed a clever combination but was not fast or strong enough to upset Taylor’s attack. After 10 rounds all three judges scored it 100-89 for Taylor.

Taylor agreed it was a difficult fight.

“There was no room for complacency,” said Taylor. “I knew it was going to be a good challenge…she was pretty crafty and pretty slippery.”

Other Bouts

Conor Benn (19-0) couldn’t blow past Chicago’s Adrian Granados (21-9-3) but was able to win the majority of rounds to defeat the experienced American by unanimous decision after 10 rounds.

“He was talking about coming together like Mack trucks,” said Benn surprised by Granados hit and run tactics.

Granados kept moving and countering throughout the 10-round fight. Benn was the busier fighter in the first half, while Granados was busier in the second half. Neither fighter was ever hurt.

All three judges ruled in favor of Benn 100-90, 99-91, 97-93.

The IBO lightweight world title changed hands as Max Hughes (24-5-2) steadily out-boxed Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon (24-4-1) in a 12-round battle between southpaws.

Hughes nearly decked Straffon who was on full attack and ran into a left cross in the fifth round. He also gassed himself but regained energy quickly to continue the impressive boxing performance. The scores were 120-107, 120-107, 119-109.

Australia’s Ebanie Bridges (7-1) powered her to win the first three rounds over France’s Mailys Gangloff (5-3) and then needed to hang on after seemingly suffering a hand injury and winning by archaic referee’s decision 77-76. Only the referee judged the fight. It’s a practice no longer used in other countries.

“It’s very painful. We’ll see when I check it out later,” said Bridges after the fight.

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