Even without a title at stake, Josh Warrington still remains intent on staking a claim as the best featherweight in the world.
The unbeaten former titlist came well within the limit for his scheduled 12-round bout versus Mexico's Mauricio Lara, which airs live on Sky Sports and DAZN this Saturday from SSE Arena, Wembley.
Warrington (30-0, 7KOs) weighed a ripped 125 ½ pounds for his first non-title fight in nearly three years. Lara (21-2, 14KOs) checked in at a fit and trim 125 pounds for his first career fight outside of the Americas.
As the fight was made official Warrington was made aware that his IBF featherweight title would not be at stake. That status became a moot point when he vacated immediately after the fight was formally announced, in lieu of an undesirable rematch with Kid Galahad who has resurfaced as the mandatory challenger.
There was always a chance of Warrington relinquishing the title, as the Leeds-bred boxer has his sights set on a desired showdown with secondary WBA featherweight titlist Xu Can. A win on Saturday could put that fight into play for the spring, provided that fans are permitted back in attendance for U.K. based events by then.
Three defenses came of Warrington's reign which began with a 12-round win over Lee Selby in May 2018. Most notable among his title run was a competitive but clear points victory over former two-division champ Carl Frampton in Dec. 2018. Warrington then outpointed Galahad (real name Barry Awad) in a narrow win in June 2019, followed by a 2nd round wipeout of Sofiane Takoucht in Oct. 2019, having not fought since then.
Lara enters the fight riding an 11-fight unbeaten streak. However, the 22-year old featherweight is stepping up in class for just his second career fight outside of Mexico and first in the United Kingdom.
Also on the show, Manchester's Zelfa Barrett (24-1, 15KOs) faces former 122-pound titlist Kiko Martinez (41-9-2, 12KOs) in a 12-round regional junior featherweight title fight. Barrett weighed 128 ¾ pounds, while Spain's Martinez tipped the scale at 128 ¼ pounds.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox