Published on 1 Jul 2021 7:18 pm (UK Time)
Josh Warrington has vacated his IBF Featherweight Title which means his fight against Mauricio Lara in the main event of the first of Matchroom’s 5-fight schedule will be a non-title fight. Warrington vs Lara on February 13 will be live on Sky Sports and DAZN from 7 pm GMT (2 pm ET). This marks the Matchroom Boxing debut of Josh Warrington.
On chief support, Super-Featherweight Zelfa Barrett defends his IBF-Intercontinental Title against former world champion Kiko Martinez in a sizeable step-up. The vacant British Title will be on the line at Featherweight when Leigh Wood takes on Reece Mould. Dalton Smith steps up in opposition as he fights Ishmael Ellis (11-3). Plus we see the return of Ivan ‘Hopey’ Price and Ibrahim Nadim.
Warrington vs Lara: Non-Title Main Event
Josh Warrington (30-0) was supposed to unify his IBF Crown with WBA champion Can Xu. Xu is the (Regular) champion but was supposed to be elevated to ‘super’ champion due to Leo Santa Cruz moving up to 130 pounds. But LSC has proclaimed that he intends to return to 126 and defend his WBA Title.
Despite this, Warrington Xu was still a possibility with the Ring Magazine belt being on the line but travel issues and the unavailability of a crowd made this fight undesirable for Xu and instead Warrington will take a ‘stay-busy’ fight with Mauricio Lara and await the return of crowds and clarity on the WBA Situation in the summer of ’21 for the Can Xu fight.
He has vacated his IBF Title to avoid an ‘undesirable’ rematch with Kid Galahad which means he will be eyeing fights with other champions and the Ring magazine belt and is no longer in a position to unify.
Mauricio Lara (21-2) is completely unheard of Mexican fighter. He was not ranked in the IBF prior to this fight being announced and has never fought any decent contender. Warrington is expected to blast Lara out in a couple of rounds and look very impressive doing so. Lara will not provide the challenges given by ex-Warrington opponents such as Carl Frampton.
Barrett vs Martinez: IBF Intercontinental Super Featherweight Strap
After being upset by Ronnie Clark, Zelfa Barrett (24-1) went on to beat Leon Woodstock for the vacant Commonwealth strap and re-enter the domestic scene. He defended his title with a stoppage win against Jordan McCrory before signing with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Barrett was meant to have a ‘run-out’ in may but instead ended up fighting the very tough and undefeated Irishmen Eric Donovan fight camp. Donovan gave him a tough test but Barrett managed to impress with a vicious left-hook knockout.
He now steps up again on the Warrington vs Lara undercard against former world champion Kiko Martinez (41-9). Martinez is 34 and far off his prime which was evident in his one-sided stoppage loss to Gary Russell Jr on the Wilder Breazeale undercard. However, Martinez is resilient, determined and will put everything into the fight.
An impressive win or a stoppage here for Zelfa Barrett could elevate him in the IBF rankings and put him in a position for a big domestic fight with the likes of Joe Cordina and Martin Joseph Ward.
Wood vs Mould: Vacant British Featherweight Title
Additionally, on the Warrington vs Lara undercard Leigh Wood (21-2) takes on undefeated prospect Reece Mould (13-0). Reece Mould won the English Featherweight title with an impressive stoppage against Sean Davis (14-2) in 2019 but hasn’t been able to do anything since. Mould takes on a big-step-up in competition fighting the experienced Leigh Wood.
Leigh Wood is the former commonwealth champion and much more experienced than Mould. He lost his last fight which was very close against Jazza Dickens in 2020. Wood-Mould is expected to be a 50./50 clash for the vacant British title with the winner being a top contender at 126. Mould is still unproven as of yet.
Warrington vs Lara: February 13 on Sky Sports Arena From 7 pm (UK & Ireland) and DAZN (Globally).