Via John Tornay: Newly crowned IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington made it clear on Friday that he’d rather fight the next WBA ‘Super’ champion Leo Santa Cruz in the United States than take on WBA second-place champion Leigh. Wood in a unified match.
Warrington is about to have an impressive seventh round win over 126-lb IBF champion Kiko Martinez (43-11-2, 30 KOs) on March 26 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, UK.
In that bout, Warrington knocked out the 36-year-old Martinez in the first round and beat him better with his persistent coordinated punch.
In the seventh inning, Warrington stopped Martinez by unleashing a barrage of shots while he was working against the ropes.
Santa Cruz recently went on a 16-month break to beat little-known Keenan Carbajal by a 10-round unanimous decision last February.
It was the first game for Santa Cruz since his brutal sixth knockout loss at the hands of Gervonta ‘The Tank’ Davis in October 2020.
It’s no surprise that Santa Cruz looked sluggish and not overly sharp in the win over Carbajal, but it was expected before he was forced to take a long-term break.
If there was ever a time when Warrington beat Santa Cruz, it was the end of the American tennis career. Santa Cruz has a lot of miles on the odometer, and his recent takedown by Tank may have taken something of him.
Warrington had to convince Hearn
Later, some boxing fans criticized Warrington for the large number of accidental headbutts he initiated during the competition, which resulted in Kiko having both eyes and forehead amputated.
Spaniard Martinez, 36, looked cut off at the end of the game, while Warrington’s face was unremarkable. He had broken his jaw, but we didn’t see the obnoxious cuts on his face like Martinez had suffered.
Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KOs) will show a lot of courage against former four-division world champion Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KOs) because he’s a fighter. An excellent internal engineer and has a high work rate just like him.
The last time Warrington left home in Leeds, he was stopped in the ninth round by little-known rival Mauricio Lara the previous year in February 2021 at Wembley Arena in London, UK.
It is thought that there will be even more trying for 31-year-old Warrington if he heads to the US to face the famous 33-year-old Santa Cruz in Las Vegas, Nevada, in his next bout.
Warrington may need to resist pressure from promoter Eddie Hearn if he wants to enter the fight against Santa Cruz as he made it clear after his win over lackluster Kiko.
Hear that Warrington will face WBA second-place champion Leigh Wood next at the City Grounds in Nottingham. Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) is about to experience a grueling 12th round when he was knocked out by Michael Conlan on March 12 in a match he appeared to be on the verge of losing before his godly goal. period.
A fight between Warrington and Wood would draw a huge crowd in Nottingham, and there would be plenty of money for both in this domestic clash.
But the downside is that Warrington will fight for the lower 126-lb WBA belt, as Wood is ‘regular; champion with the World Boxing Association, underneath the Santa Cruz ‘Super Champ’.
Hearn also mentioned 126-lb WBO champion Emmanuel Navarrete as someone he’d like to see Warrington fight next, but it doesn’t seem like he’s serious about that option.
Navarrete isn’t as famous as Santa Cruz, and he’s probably the best fighter in the 126 lb division right now. It’s going to be a bad game for Warrington and there’s not much for him to gain.
Josh wants Santa Cruz
“Santa Cruz is a name I have been shouting about for a long time,” says Josh Warrington. I would never say no to coming to the United States. I did everything I wanted to do here [in the UK]. That is a personal goal that I want to achieve while fighting in the United States against Santa Cruz in the United States. So why not?
“I know Leigh Wood wants to fight him, but I was here first. People keep writing for me, and that seems to bring out the best in me.
“It’s one of the things I want to put in bed,” Warrington said when asked if he wanted to try and avenge his loss to Mauricio Lara before his career ended.
“I have seen many people say how dangerous he is, and I fear him. That’s why I purposely avoided him in the second battle. Yes, I want to put that on the bed.
“Yes, Mauricio Lara is a good boxer and he’s a dangerous puncher, but he hasn’t been on the same level as a lot of people over the last few years. I want to put that chapter to bed, the whole story to bed.
“I don’t mind going into his backyard. Yes, I will travel no problem. I always thought I would retire when I was 30. I’m 31 now and I’ll be 32 in November.
“Three battles will be amazing. [Fight Santa Cruz, [and then] put Lara to bed, and Leigh Wood in a big domestic game at the City Ground, I think that’s awesome. I am very happy with that. Let’s see what happens.
Porter is not as impressive as Warrington
“I don’t sell much on Warrington either. He’s a very basic boxer and there’s nothing wrong with that. Speed, he’s an average boxer,” Shawn Porter said on the Porter Way Podcast when talking about Warrington after his injury-time win over 36-year-old Kiko Martinez.
“I hate to say bad things about someone, but Warrington has a pretty fitting name, and I don’t think he’s guaranteed to have it,” continued Porter.
“I don’t think it’s special enough, that’s what I love. Even if I don’t become special, I see something unique, I don’t see special, I don’t see unique, and again, I am not sold on Warrington.
“I was going to say I don’t know if he has a reputation as a tough hitter, but the first round knockdown, I had to rewind it. Do I blink? It was a nice forehand, it was a good shot, but I noticed that he missed his shots.
“So in that torque there can be a lot of power in those punches that he throws there where I like, ‘Hey, I don’t see anything special, but there’s more than two hits. punch right there.’
“But what I’m saying is that I don’t see him as anything special or unique. Maybe that power was something I couldn’t see with my naked eyes, but those who were attacked by it felt it.
“A little bit like Shane Mosley with the way he throws his punches, a little bit like that,” Porter said of Warrington.