Mauricio ‘Bronco’ Lara has spent all of 2022 waiting on promised title shots that failed to materialize.

It’s time for those fighters—Josh Warrington and Leigh Wood in particular—to pay the price.

For now, all of that pent-up frustration was taken out on Colombia’s Jose Sanmartin. Two knockdowns led to his second straight third-round stoppage win in their DAZN-aired main event Saturday evening at Plaza de Toros in Mexico City, Mexico. The fight was stopped at 1:36 of round three immediately following the second knockdown.

“That’s what we came to do,” Lara said of his knockout performance to DAZN’s Claudia Trejos during his post-fight interview. “It ended earlier than we predicted.”

Sanmartin promised to swarm and neutralize Lara’s overwhelming offensive attack but largely spent the opening round playing defense. Lara worked behind and hooked off an up-jab, not always landing but applying enough pressure to force Sanmartin to fight behind an earmuff defense. Lara landed an occasional body shot but was often short and wide with power shots upstairs.

Lara let his hands go in the second half of round two. Sanmartin stood directly in front of the local favorite, slipping much of the incoming but without anything of substance coming back in return. Sanmartin managed a clean left hook upstairs, only to leave himself open for a crushing counter overhand right. Time was called, as Lara was clipped with a low blow and Sanmartin immediately apologetic over the sequence. Lara came out of the brief break with a left hook to the body and an uppercut to close out the round.

Prior to the fight, Lara guaranteed to anyone who would listen that the fight would not last more than four rounds. The streaking featherweight contender made good on that promise with a violent round three that Sanmartin would never survive.

Lara came out immediately throwing heat. Sanmartin did his best to land anything that would gain the respect of his heavy-handed opponent, even catching the Mexican with a right hand upstairs. Lara immediately turned the tide, connecting with a right hand and a left hook to upstairs and to the body. A right hand shot forced Sanmartin (33-6-1, 21KOs) to stagger before causing a delayed reaction knockdown.

Sanmartin managed to beat the count but absorbed significant punishment immediately thereafter. Lara pinned Sanmartin along the ropes, connecting with a right hand before targeting the body. A final left guard behind the guard forced Sanmartin back to the canvas, this time prompting an immediate stoppage.

“We knew he was a fighter that could absorb a lot of punishment,” said Lara, who improved to 25-2-1 (18KOs) and extended his current fifteen-fight unbeaten streak. “He wasn’t able to handle my power, though.”

Saturday's win came in lieu of a planned September 24 date with secondary WBA featherweight titlist Leigh Wood, who suffered a biceps injury in withdrawing from their DAZN headliner from Wood's hometown of Nottingham, England. Lara gladly settled for a hometown headliner, though still unconvinced that Wood was as hurt as he suggested.

The canceled secondary title fight came as part of a 2022 campaign that saw Lara pursue either a shot at the IBF featherweight title or a third fight with Warrington.

Lara enjoyed a breakout win with a ninth-round stoppage of then-unbeaten Warrington last February at Wembley’s SSE Arena. Their rematch took place last September in Warrington’s Leeds hometown, with Lara more than holding his own before a clash of heads left him with a cut deemed too severe for him to continue.

The two went their separate ways, though it was Warrington who landed a shot at the IBF title he previously vacated, dethroning Kiko Martinez via seventh round stoppage on March 26 in Leeds. Lara fought three weeks prior, scoring a violent third-round knockout of Emllio Sanchez on a DAZN show in San Diego.

Hopes of at least landing a shot at Wood’s secondary WBA title provided false hope, though with Lara now eager to hunt down the pair of Englishmen in the year ahead.

“I want them both,” insisted Lara. “A fight with Josh Warrington is very personal. As for Leigh Wood, he doesn’t have the right to call himself a champion. He claimed he was hurt. I saw various stories and posts on social media that suggest he’s fine.”

Lara primarily fights for BXSTRS Promotion but is also co-promoted by Matchroom Boxing, who fully represents Warrington and Wood. The good news is that fights with both are feasible options, even if Wood is forced to give up his WBA title should he decline to move forward with a title consolidation bout with WBA ‘Super’ champ Leo Santa Cruz.

“I love the fight,” Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Sport said of the potential of Warrington-Lara III, though also hoping to revisit plans for Wood-Lara. “We got a big fight that he’s got to come through against his mandatory Luis Alberto Lopez on December 10.

“Leigh Wood still wants to fight him and there’s not many queued up who want to face him. This is one of the most entertaining fighters to watch. [Lara is] willing to face anyone.”

While Wood has to figure out his next move, the path is already clear for Warrington. The two-time and reigning IBF featherweight titlist next defends against Lara’s countryman and IBF mandatory challenger, Luis Alberto Lopez on December 10 in Leeds. Should he prevail, there will undoubtedly come high demand for a third fight with Lara.

“I want Josh Warrington,” Lara stated under no uncertain terms. “It’s become personal and I want to retire him from the sport.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox