Josh Warrington has admitted that losing to Mauricio Lara earlier this year left him too embarrassed to leave his house for six weeks.
The Englishman started 2021 as ESPN’s No. 1 featherweight in the world, but is now adrift of world title contention after voluntarily giving up his IBF belt in January and then suffering a shock stoppage defeat to Lara a month later.
Warrington, 30, is only ranked in the top 10 by one of the four world governing bodies after Lara stopped him in the ninth round of what was supposed to be a warm-up bout against an opponent who had never competed at elite level.
“For the first six or seven weeks, I was dealing with injuries and that covered up all the thoughts of losing,” Warrington said.
“I had a fractured jaw, I had to have an operation on my elbow, I had a damaged shoulder, my ear was perforated.
“I didn’t really leave the house because I was kind of embarrassed and I didn’t want to bump into folk and them asking me ‘what happened Josh?’
“For six weeks, I was recovering. Then when I went to the Joseph Parker-Dereck Chisora fight [in May], that’s when it hit home because that should have been my night, that should have been my re-organised fight with Can Xu [now the former WBA champion, from China].
“I was driving back from Manchester that night and I broke down after that, probably the lowest I’ve ever been.
“For about two weeks, I just had my head in my a–, just moping around the house, I couldn’t be bothered about anything. The garden was piled up with dog s— and I couldn’t be bothered going out and dealing with that.
“It got to a stage where I thought I could do something about it or just keep moping about, so I dusted myself off and got back in the gym when I could. I thought I’m not the only fighter in boxing who has lost and that’s where my mindset and motivation changed.”
Warrington hopes he can repair the damage done by the first defeat of his professional career in his home city of Leeds, at the Headingley Rugby League Stadium on Saturday.
Talking to WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, also from England, about reviving his career helped Warrington. Joshua was also victim of a big upset when he was stopped by American Andy Ruiz in June 2019, but won back his belts on points in a rematch six months later.
“When I had a chat with AJ about three weeks after it, he said something similar. He said I would get to a stage where I would just want to get back on the horse or f— the game off completely,” Warrington said.
“After that week or so of moping about the house, I thought of that. I thought I can do something about this. I thought to myself am I just going to throw my toys out of the pram and keep sulking? No, I can do something about this. I just had a good word with myself.”
Warrington admits he expected to blow away 23-year-old Lara (23-2, 16 KOs), from Mexico City, when they last met, a bit like Warrington’s previous fight when he stopped Sofiane Takoucht in two rounds.
“Breaking it down it was silly stuff — throwing far too many punches just stood straight in front of him, and it’s like ‘come on man that is amateur stuff!'” Warrington added.
“I was trying to fight fire with fire. I didn’t start boxing until I got knocked down and then in the fifth round when I was making it easy for myself. But by that time I had damaged my shoulder when I went down, my jaw was hanging off, my ear was busted, I was half concussed and it was probably too late then. The way I started the fight it makes my toe curl.”
On the same bill, which will be shown by streaming service DAZN, Ireland’s Katie Taylor (18-0, 6 KOs) defends all four world lightweight titles against American Jennifer Han (18-3-1).
Taylor, one of the biggest stars in women’s boxing, will be a big favourite to retain her belts against El Paso, Texas-based Han, 38, who is stepping up two weight classes after making four defences of the IBF featherweight title between 2015 and 2018.