Josh Warrington vs Mauricio Lara Preview, Tips & Prediction

Warrington v Lara

Josh Warrington vs Mauricio Lara Preview

Boxing is back. After a seven-week absence, the sport gets back underway in the UK with a decent enough card as former IBF World Featherweight champion Josh Warrington takes on Mauricio Lara.

The undercard sees a couple of thrilling matchups as Zelfa Barrett looks to build on his highlight-reel knockout over Eric Donovan against ex-world champion Kiko Martinez and Reece Mould puts his unbeaten record on the line against the hard-hitting Leigh Wood.

Read our preview and tips for the card here.

Dalton Smith vs Ishmael Ellis

Originally scheduled to fight Lee Appleyard, Dalton Smith has had a late change of opponent for his seventh professional bout and he now takes on Birmingham's Ishmael Ellis, who has stepped in on 10 days notice.

Smith, who was a key member of the Great Britain squad as an amateur, has got off to a faultless start in the professional ranks with six wins and five stoppage victories coming from his first six fights. This has seen him become highly regarded as one of the biggest prospects in British boxing and when you watch him, it's really easy to see why.

Ellis, meanwhile, hasn't had it as plain sailing so far in his professional career. 11 wins with three losses from his first 14 fights, he was edged out by Kane Baker for the Midlands Area title in his 10th fight before losing his last two fights, one by stoppage to the hard-hitting Scot Craig MacIntyre.

Professional experience-wise, Ellis has the advantage of having boxed 81 rounds in the paid ranks compared to Smith's 21. However, that's the only real advantage he really has going into this fight. Smith's easy on the eye, composed, slick style is slowly starting to build him a fairly big reputation on the domestic scene.

We expect the fight to take a few rounds to get going but once Smith establishes that lethal jab of his and starts to put his combinations together, he'll more than likely get Ellis out of there.

Zelfa Barrett vs Kiko Martinez

Now for an absolute belter of a fight as the young meets the old. The powerful and exciting Mancunian Zelfa Barrett takes on the former Super Bantamweight champion of the world Kiko Martinez.

Barrett has been on the domestic scene for quite a while now having turned professional back in 2014. He served a 19-fight apprenticeship picking up the English Super Featherweight title in the process before suffering a shock split decision defeat to the hands of Ronnie Clark. Since then though, Barrett hasn't looked back with five straight victories including three stoppages.

The Spaniard Martinez is arguably the most well-travelled fighters still fighting at world level. A career that has spanned nearly 17 years, he's a seven-time world title challenger and won the IBF Super Bantamweight world title back in 2013. A title he defended twice before suffering a unanimous decision defeat to Barrett's fellow Brit, Carl Frampton.

How will the fight go? Well, it's an interesting one. If this was the best Martinez against the current Barrett then you'd probably have Martinez as slight favourite. However, this is an ageing Martinez who's boxed more than double the amount of rounds of a fresh and youthful Barrett.

Expect Martinez to start quick. Barrett has shown that can take a few rounds to get going and if the Spaniard is to have any chance he needs to get on the front foot and put it on Zelfa. However, the Mancunian will likely have just too much sharpness and power for the more experienced man and we're backing Barrett to get the stoppage mid to late rounds.

Leigh Wood vs Reece Mould

A cracking domestic encounter sees Nottingham's former European Featherweight champion Leigh Wood take on Doncaster's unbeaten Reece Mould in a potential fight of the night clash.

Wood was on cracking win streak of 12 victories and nine stoppages before a disappointing loss to scouser Jazza Dickens in MTK's Golden Contract tournament last time out.

Meanwhile, Mould is being touted as one of the best-kept secrets in British boxing having accumulated 13 wins with six stoppages from his 13 professional bouts to date including an emphatic stoppage of the tough Sean Davis for the English featherweight title 18 months ago.

It's a really interesting fight this. Mould is the man with the momentum but Wood is the man with the experience at a much higher level. An interesting aspect of this fight is that the Nottingham man has most recently teamed up with trainer Ben Davison. Davison has built up a reputation for being one of the best defensive trainers in the country and one of Wood's biggest weaknesses has been how easily he gets hit.

Mould will fancy this, especially with Wood coming off the back of a tough defeat however we believe that the step up in class may just be a little too much too soon for Mould and we're backing Wood to win by decision.

Josh Warrington vs Mauricio Lara

Now for the main event where former IBF World Featherweight champion Josh Warrington taking on Mauricio Lara.

This fight was originally scheduled to be a featherweight unification clash between Warrington and China's Can Xu, however, the fight was postponed due to travel restrictions. The IBF then ordered the Yorkshireman to defend his world title in a rematch with Kid Galahad but after Warrington decided against the fight, he was relinquished of his world title. In truth, it's all been a little bit of a mess.

Anyway, it was confirmed not too long ago that Warrington's new opponent for his original scheduled fight date of February 13th will be Mexican Mauricio Lara.

With 14 KOs from 21 wins in 23 fights, Lara has only been beaten once since defeat on debut back in 2015 however, the level he has fought at is questionable, hence why the IBF didn't sanction it as a world title defence for Warrington.

A typical in your face Mexican, take a shot give two back sort of style, and we think this fight will likely be over rather quickly. Warrington will have the bit between his teeth. He needs to make a statement as he looks for a big fight against the likes of Gary Russell Jnr and anything but an early stoppage will go down as a big disappointment.

The Englishman has shown what he's about, though; high intensity, high punch output, a granite chin and a really likeable boxing style. He'll know what's on the line here and he'll know that a shock defeat will put him towards the back of the queue for a world title shot and we're fully expecting him to get the job done quickly and in convincing fashion.

Prediction: Josh Warrington to win between rounds 1-5.

Warrington v Lara Prediction

skybet betting tip

WARRINGTON TO WIN IN ROUNDS 1-5 @ 2/1

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