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Mauricio Lara Scores Convincing KO Over Sanmartin

Mauricio Lara Scores Convincing KO Over Sanmartin

Boxing News

Mauricio Lara Scores Convincing KO Over Sanmartin

Ed Mulholland- Matchroom USA

Mauricio Lara Scores Convincing KO Over Sanmartin

Featherweight contender Mauricio Lara powered past the usually durable Jose Sanmartin in a third-round knockout victory on Saturday night that put him on the doorstep of a world title shot.

Lara, who was fighting front of his hometown fans in the Matchroom Boxing main event on DAZN at the Plaza de Toros Arroyo in Mexico City, scored two clean knockdowns in the impressive win that fulfilled his pre-fight prediction of a knockout win inside four rounds.

“That’s what we came to do,” Lara said through interpreter Gabe Rivas. “We knew he was a fighter who could take a lot of punishment. Today he wasn’t able to take that much, but we knew the type of fighter he was.”

Lara had little trouble achieving his early knockout goal as he took control from the outset using a stiff jab against a defensive-minded Sanmartin.

In the second round, Lara was also in control, tagging Sanmartin with a hard right hand — as well as with a low blow he apologized for.

He cranked it up in the third round, going full steam after Sanmartin and eventually catching him with a hard right hand during an exchange that forced Sanmartin to take a step back and eventually go down to a knee on a delayed reaction near the ropes for the first knockdown.

Sanmartin quickly beat the count but Lara was all over him, peppering him with shots during a follow-up onslaught.

Lara dished out punishment as he went for the knockout. He had Sanmartin in dire trouble when he connected with a left hook to the head that sent him to the canvas on a knee again, causing the referee to wave off the fight without a count at 1 minute, 36 seconds.

Sanmartin (33-6-1, 21 KOs), 25, of Colombia, who suffered only his second stoppage loss, remained on the canvas for a few minutes. The defeat ended his seven-fight winning streak since a 12th-round knockout loss in 2018 to Emanuel Navarrete, who went on to win world titles in two divisions and currently holds the WBO featherweight title.

Lara was pleased to score the win in front a home crowd that included two fighters he has ample respect, Navarrete and lightweight contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz.

“It means so much to be able to fight here in front of all my people,” Lara said. “I’ve needed that for some time, so I’m very happy. It means a lot (to have the fighters on hand). ‘Pitbull’ and Navarrete are great fighters and I’m working very hard to be a world champion like Navarrete.”

Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs), 24, was only fighting on the card because his scheduled challenge against WBA “regular” featherweight titlist Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KOs), 34, on Sept. 24 in Wood’s hometown of Nottingham, England, was canceled when Wood withdrew after suffering a torn biceps two weeks before the fight.

Whats next for Lara?

Lara hopes Wood will fight him when he returns to the ring — although he faces the order of a mandatory fight against “super” titleholder Leo Santa Cruz first — but Lara also badly wants a shot at IBF titlist Josh Warrington.

Lara came out of obscurity in February 2021 when he traveled to England and knocked out then-undefeated Warrington, a two-time featherweight titlist, in a huge upset in a nontitle fight. They fought to a second-round technical draw in an immediate rematch when a cut over Lara’s left eye left from an accidental head clash left him unable to continue.

“Both of them,” Lara said when asked who he wants to fight. “With Warrington it’s become something very personal and for Wood, he doesn’t have the right to call himself a champion because he said he was hurt and I saw various stories on Instagram and it looks like it’s not true.”

If he could pick one of them to fight first, Lara wants the trilogy fight with Warrington, who regained the IBF belt since their second meeting.

“I want to face Josh Warrington,” Lara said. “It’s become something very personal and I want to retire him from boxing. We’re gonna keep working hard to become a world champion.”

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who promotes Warrington, Wood and Lara, said he would like to make the third fight between Warrington and Lara.

Before it can be made, however, Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KOs), 31, faces a mandatory defense against Luis Lopez (26-2, 15 KOs), 29, of Mexico, on Dec. 10 (DAZN) at First Direct Arena in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds, England.

“I love the (third) fight,” Hearn said. “We’ve got a big fight on Dec. 10 that Warrington has to come through against Lopez, his mandatory, but that fight will always be a big fight. The second one sold 20,000 (tickets) in an outdoor stadium. It was cut shot by a clash of heads. I think we’d love to do the third. Leigh Wood, by the way, still wants to fight Mauricio Lara and there’s not many queuing up to fight him.

“This guy is all action. He’s very dangerous. I was worried about him tonight because he came into the ring with a smile on his face waiving to his daughter. Normally, he’s in the (opponent’s) backyard getting spat at. This is one of the most entertaining fighters in boxing to watch. We need to land him the big fight, Wood, Warrington, Leo Santa Cruz, all Mexican fight. Lara will fight anyone.”

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Since 2000, award-winning reporter Dan Rafael has covered boxing full time and been ringside for thousands of fights, first for five years at USA Today and then for 15 years at ESPN, where he wrote and appeared on various television, radio and streaming programs. In 2013, Dan was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America with the Nat Fleischer award for career excellence in boxing journalism. Dan brings his great insight to the Big Fight Weekend site, podcast and more!

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