Luis Alberto Lopez Stuns Josh Warrington In Leeds
It was a hard fought brawl that at times turned dirty, but in the end Mexican challenger Luis Alberto Lopez scored a narrow, majority to decision win over English favorite Josh Warrington to capture the IBF featherweight championship Saturday night.
Lopez won 115 – 113 on two cards with the third one scoring the bout even at 114 a piece. The Warrington-Lopez battle concluded the Matchroom Boxing card at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England,
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) December 11, 2022
The fight almost got derailed just like Warrington’s previous fight with another Mexican, Mauricio Lara, when a clash of heads in the second round caused a huge gash on Lara’s forehead that caused a no contest to be called. And in the second round of this one, Warrington leaped in at Lopez, as he went to throw a punch in round two and it cut him badly over his right eye.
Lopez pawed at the cut, complained, but continued to fight on. And, his corner did a tremendous job of stemming the blood flow throughout the rest of the fight.
After the cut, Lopez took control
Lopez, now 26-2, 15 KOs, clearly built up an early lead scoring in particular with left hooks and body shots. Warrington was trying to brawl him and potentially wear him down in the late rounds.
That seemed to be working for Warrington, now 26-2-1, 9 KOs, as he scored to the body and also with rights and lefts to the head as the fight wore on.
The 9th round also had controversy where referee Bob Williams paused the action, because Warrington landed a kidney punch with a right hand but he never, so much warned the British defending champ, much less took a point away.
The 32 year old Warrington also got away with hitting Lopez several times in the back of the head with the Mexican repeatedly complaining to the ref. In the end, the two slugged it out in the 11th and 12th, which Warrington won on all three cards. However, the lead in the first nine rounds built by Lopez got him the narrow decision.
Lopez overcame adversity
“I’m really happy at the moment. It’s been a long period of preparation,” Lopez said through an interpreter in the ring. “It comes from hard work from a long boxing career. I’m delighted to be world champion.”
When, asked about the repeated apparent fouling against him, Lopez added, “I had to respect him coming into his city, his people. I knew he was a dirty fighter. But, he surprised me even more. He was hitting me to the legs. He hit me in the gluts. And, I didn’t feel the referee did his work… You need to look after the boxers. It’s a dangerous sport.”
The 29 year old Lopez won the world title Saturday in his first bout to ever go past the 10th round, meanwhile, it’s a loss that puts the veteran Warrington back to the drawing board after losing the title for a second time. Lara had knocked him out in February 2021.
After being in some tough fights, including suffering a broken jaw in his TKO win over Kiko Martinez in March of this year, Warrington may contemplate retirement.
Earlier on the undercard Australian Ebonie Bridges successfully defended her IBF women’s bantamweight world title by stopping fellow country woman Shannon O’Connell in the 8th round. Bridges had dropped O’Connell with a straight right hand earlier in the fifth round and eventually, overwhelmed O’Connell with a barrage of punches 1:45 into the 8th round.
Also on the undercard British middleweight Felix Cash want a hard-fought close, eight round decision over Celso Neves