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Josh Warrington seeking big name fights after vacating IBF belt

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Warrington returns Feb. 13 in a DAZN main event.

Josh Warrington Media Workout Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Josh Warrington recently gave up the IBF featherweight title, after he failed to secure sanctioning body approval for a unification with WBA “world” (regular) titlist Xu Can, and says he’s looking to fight big names, even without a belt as leverage.

But first, Warrington (30-0, 7 KO) has what figures to be a tune-up date set on Feb. 13, facing 22-year-old Mexican Mauricio Lara (21-2, 14 KO) in a 10-round DAZN main event from The SSE Arena, Wembley.

Warrington, 30, will be expected to win without trouble, but he’s taking the fight seriously after a long and frustrating break, having not fought since Oct. 2019.

“The next fight is always the most important one,” said Warrington. “You can’t afford to slip up. For my legacy as a fighter, I want to be known as someone who went in there and beat the best. This is the pinnacle of my career. Nobody in the boxing world ever thought I’d get to this stage. All of the big fights are there in front of me. I’m ready to take on the bigger names.

“It’s going to be good to get back. It has been mentally testing. There’s been dates that have changed many times. It’s been last April, then last May, last June, last August, last October and last December. It won’t feel like I’m back until I step through them ropes. It won’t feel like I’m back until that first bell rings. It’s been frustrating but now I’m ready to go.”

Lara doesn’t have any high-level experience, but he has won 10 straight dating back to 2018, and he’s been much more active than Warrington. Lara had three official fights in 2020, plus an unsanctioned bout in July at the TV Azteca studio. He was last out on Dec. 4, winning a wide decision over veteran Sergio Puente.