Mauricio ‘Bronco’ Lara didn’t waste any time tearing down Jose Sanmartin in the ring before verbally tearing apart his next two stated foes.
The streaking contender from Mexico City was unequivocal in his desire to close out his rivalry with IBF featherweight titlist Josh Warrington and his disdain for previously scheduled foe and secondary WBA titlist Leigh Wood. Lara owns a knockout win over Warrington along with settling for a technical draw in their rematch, while waiting on plans to come back around for his canceled fight with Wood who withdrew from their September 24 bout in his hometown of Nottingham due to a biceps injury.
Lara has now called into question the fighting heart of Warrington and the extent to which Wood was injured.
“A third fight with Warrington is very personal,” Lara told DAZN’s Claudia Trejos during his post-fight interview, as translated by Gabriel Rivas. “Leigh Wood 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.”
Warrington (31-1-1, 8KOs) is next due to face mandatory challenger Luis Alberto Lopez (26-2, 15KOs) of Mexicali atop a December 10 DAZN show from Leeds. The bout marks the first attempted defense of his second title reign after regaining the IBF belt in a seventh-round knockout of Kiko Martinez on March 26 also in Leeds.
The title fight came in lieu of a trilogy clash with Lara, who is responsible for the lone two blemishes on Warrington’s record. He stopped the then-unbeaten Brit inside of nine rounds last February, before their rematch last September ended in a technical draw after two rounds. Lara hoped for a third fight or a shot at Martinez, the latter instead going to Warrington.
Lara settled for a third-round knockout of Emilio Sanchez on March 5 in San Diego, before learning of a possible fight with Wood. Lara was set to challenge for Wood’s secondary WBA title before being told to not worry about traveling abroad once it was learned that Wood was pulling out of the fight.
Wood is now on the hook to provide proof of injury and recovery process with the WBA, who will in turn re-order a title consolidation bout with WBA ‘Super’ featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz. That leaves Lara to squarely place his focus on the outcome of the December 10 Warrington-Lopez fight. His instincts are to root for his countryman in Lopez, though a win by Warrington would pave the way to settle unfinished business.
"I want Josh Warrington,” Lara stated under no uncertain terms. “It’s become something very personal and I want to retire him from the sport. We’re gonna keep working hard to become a world champion.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox