Josh Warrington say he does not remember the punches that knocked him down against Mauricio Lara, but says that he felt clear-headed when he was allowed to continue in the fight.
The former IBF featherweight champion was knocked out by Lara, a little-known Mexican, in the ninth round at Wembley this month. He had been heavily knocked down in the fourth round, prompting criticism of Howard Foster, the referee, and Sean O’Hagan, Warrington’s father and trainer, for not stopping it earlier.
“I don’t remember getting put over. I remember the punches prior to getting put over but I don’t remember getting put over,” Warrington said.
“I remember in the fourth he buzzed me. I remember getting up, I remember walking to Howard and what I said. I said ‘I am fine to continue’. Then in around the seventh and eighth I thought I was doing all right. The eighth I probably lost, but if I got through the ninth I was really going to go for it. I had plenty left in the tank
“Round nine I got hit with a shot and I thought ‘f---’. I thought It was fight or flight, get on my bike or go with him and I decided to go with him. I don’t remember the shot that put me over. But I remember saying to Howard ‘let me get up’ and he said ‘it’s over Josh’.”
It was the moments at the end of the fourth round that caused controversy when Warrington was hurt and on unsteady legs as Lara went for the finish and landed some more hard shots.
“In the fourth, the last 20 seconds I was really trying to hold on and save my skin and he caught me with some more good shots,” Warrington said.
“I went back to the corner and the initial 20 seconds was a bit of a blur. Then my dad said ‘Are you f----- listening to me’.’
“I then said: ‘Dad, I’m listening’. I thought this was going to be a hard slog, but in the sixth and seventh I was completely back in there.”
Warrington has a rematch clause to fight Lara again and says he is certain that he wants that fight to happen, although it is unlikely to take place until the end of the summer.
“Eddie (Hearn) and Steve (Wood, his manager) have been talking August, September time, they want to have some crowd back,” Warrington said. “I’ve got a few injuries that need a bit or rest.
“Everyone wants me to have this down time. Because there is more than one person saying it, I’m listening. When I do get back I’m chomping at the bit.”
One person he has spoken to since his defeat was Anthony Joshua, who revealed that he was so upset after his loss to John Ruiz in 2019 that he cried.
“I wanted to know about his mindset, he's a deep guy and I'm a bit of a deep guy,” Warrington said. “It was like he was giving me a bit of a psychology session, you feel like you want to get back after it.
“He was telling me a story when he was in New York and after the fight him and his entourage went for a walk and this guy goes 'Hey Anthony, why the f--- did you get beat up by that fat Mexican' and his head went down.
“He went back to the apartment and stayed there for a few days, he said he cried, he ate ice cream, he sulked but once he came back he was ready to get back on the horse. I wanted to have my sulking time but it has not happened yet.”
But Warrington says that if he can’t beat Lara in a rematch, he is likely to retire.
“There is no point hanging about,” he said. “If I can’t beat this guy, I’m not mixing it with Gary Russell, no one is going to believe I’m going to mix it with him or Emanuel Navarrete.
‘What’s the point? Maybe I could step up to super-featherweight for a payday. I’m not prepared to do that because it’s a hard sport so if I can’t get through this guy, then it’s like: what are you going to do, Josh?
“I think that goes to show how confident I am of beating him in a rematch. I’ve been eating Ben and Jerry’s for the past week but I’d fight him tomorrow.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.