We may still be in the early exchanges of 2021, but boxing fans have already witnessed a huge sporting upset. Former world champion and previously unbeaten fighter Josh Warrington suffered a shock stoppage defeat to little known Mexican warrior Mauricio Lara last month.
The result at Wembley Arena was shown live on Sky Sports and caught many followers of the noble art off-guard, not least of all Yorkshireman Warrington who was stopped in nine. The Leeds Warrior entered the contest against Lara as a short-priced favourite with odds from the leading Vegas sports gambling sites suggesting defeat wasn’t an option.
Boxing history is littered with upsets
As we know in sport, particularly in prizefighting, nothing can be written off and it’s dangerous to suggest a professional boxer has no chance of winning. The sport’s history is littered with shocks and upsets that will be written about for generations.
For more on this read Anthony Joshua’s defeat in New York to overweight and supposedly sluggish Andry Ruiz. It was thought Destroyer had no more than a puncher’s chance that night but in boxing, that’s all it takes.
Warrington was reminded of that fact by Lara but what does the future hold for one of the best boxers in Britain? Will he bounce back from defeat or take an extended rest from the ring and slide down the world rankings?
Some soul searching ahead
A strong argument could be made in support for both but anyone who has followed Josh’s career knows he’s not one to throw the towel in. His pride was hurt in that first career loss and it will take many weeks and months of soul searching to fix it.
On lonely night’s he’ll ask himself what went wrong. What he could have done differently. Was his team to blame? Should he move up in weight to extend his career? Has he been nothing more than lucky all these years? An over-achiever who thrived on being the underdog.
When Warrington figures out the answers to those questions he can begin to plan and with his team can map out the comeback trail. He may see that, sometimes, losing an unbeaten record isn’t the end of the world. It could even be a blessing in disguise. Those mature enough and dedicated enough to see through the disguise will realise this and use it to their advantage.
How defeat can help a fighter
How could a defeat help Warrington’s career and eventually lead to him becoming a world champion once again? When Josh was the all-conquering fighter with a devastating unbeaten record boasting wins over the likes of Carl Frampton and Lee Selby, he was top of the rankings, a man fellow champions were eager to avoid. Fighters like Can Xu of China.
Before Warrington faced Lara, he was originally billed to take on WBA world champion Xu. That was a fight that could have happened in China, the UK or America but the boxer from Beijing wasn’t keen on the idea. He wanted to wait until fans were allowed inside the stadium when coronavirus restrictions were eased. It was a strange request, but Xu may now have changed his thinking.
It would come as no shock to fight fans if they were to learn in the coming weeks that Can has changed his mind and is now pushing for the fight with Warrington. He could make out he is desperate to get the Briton in a ring, anywhere on the planet. Why wouldn’t he? He’s a brave and bold fighter, of course.
Xu holds all the aces
The truth, however, is a different story. In challenging Warrington, the Chinese fighter will get a crack at his opponent while he’s low on confidence, coming in on the back of a morale-crushing stoppage defeat.
If Warrington accepted the challenge Xu would be a strong favourite. If Warrington rejected the challenge, preferring a warm-up bout, Xu would move on with his pride intact.
If this does prove to be the care Josh will have a decision to make. Will he gamble and take the fight with Can in the hope of getting back to winning ways and scoring a world title in the process. Or will he play it safe and pick up the pieces of his career?
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