Daily News Social: Lara’s edge, Hopey’s return and Benn’s incentive

In a new series, published during weekdays on Boxing Social, the incomparable Terry Dooley delivers his unique look at the boxing news.

Mexico’s Mauricio Lara (23-2, 16 KOs) has said that there is a personal edge to his rematch with Josh Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs) at the Headingley Stadium in Leeds tomorrow night after claiming that the former IBF featherweight titlist referred to him and his training team as amateurs.

Lara stopped Warrington in nine in February to rip away the 30-year-old’s unbeaten record and has vowed to repeat the trick tomorrow night. “A lot of effort went into this, it wasn’t coincidence,” he said when referring to their first fight. 

“Since he has started disrespecting me, it has become personal,” added the 23-year-old puncher. “He said me and my training team were novices. He doesn’t respect me and has said many things about my dad (Lara is trained by his father). He has made a mistake, believe me. I am going to go in there and destroy him.” 

Warrington, though, has vowed to right the wrong by avenging his only defeat and has told Ben McKenna of the Yorkshire Evening Post that having 20,000 fans cheering him on will be one of the key differences this time around. 

“I know that if I slip up, I am not looking at world titles anymore,” he admitted. “Fighting in front of a big audience brings pressure, even though that is an advantage. But I am prepared for it and that is why we do it.” 

“Last time I boxed in front of a crowd (against Sofiane Takoucht in October 2019), it was a hell of an occasion,” he added. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere. Having boxed back in February, it was a weird scenario. I can’t wait to be back in front of the noise and the energy the crowd brings…He (Lara) is only a young lad and he has not boxed in a crowd like this and certainly not a crowd so aggressive and so passionate. It will be interesting to see how he handles it.” 

Lara, though, has told McKenna that he is an improved fighter this time around and expects to win by knockout again. “It was a big surprise but I believed in myself greatly,” he said when reflecting on their first fight.  

“I have looked back and I know I made several errors during the fight, I did some great things as well, but we have been polishing those errors. On Saturday, you will see a very different Mauricio Lara — a better Mauricio Lara. It is going to be an all-out war. I hope he is ready…I have prepared for the 12 rounds but I assure you, it won’t go the distance.” 

McKenna also spoke toHopey Price (5-0, 1 KO), who fights in front of his home crowd for the first time in years as he meets fellow Leeds fighter Zahid Hussain (16-1, 2 KOs) for the vacant International Boxing Organization International super-bantam belt on the same bill. “It is the first time boxing in my hometown since I was 14, so I am looking forward to putting on a good performance,” he said.

“My dream is to headline these shows one day but being on the undercard at this stage of my career is where I want to be. I like being on these big shows. I have been on a few already but this one is going to be extra special this weekend.

“He has brought attention to Leeds,” said the 21-year-old when asked about the effect that Warrington has had on the city. “It has been a massive part of my career. I want to go on and be a world champion just like him, he has opened the door for the younger fighters in Leeds.” 

Conor Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) meets Adrian Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs) in a rescheduled fight on the undercard following a bout of Covid, and he has an extra incentive to win and put on a show. Benn became a father in January following the birth of his son, Eli, but due to travel restrictions Nigel Benn has yet to meet his grandson.

Conor told Wally Downes Jr. of The Sun that this will change next month when “The Dark Destroyer” flies over from Australia to engage in a speaking tour with former foe Chris Eubank Sr.. “My dad is coming over to do a tour with Eubank and, if I was a fan, I would quickly get a ticket for the first show,” said the 24-year-old. “Because I don’t know how long that tour will last!

“The idea of being at the airport arrivals gate with my son, his grandson, gets me emotional just thinking about it. The thought of it has given me butterflies and it’s still a month away.” 

The Leicester Mercury has reported that Kyle Haywood (8-1, 1 KO) will fight a new opponent when he goes for the vacant Midlands Area super-welterweight next week. Matt Bozeat has revealed that Ryan Amos has had to withdraw due to an injury so Haywood will now fight Alex Fearon (9-2, o KOs) at the city’s Morningside Arena next Saturday night.

“This is a tougher fight for Kyle,” said Carl Greaves, who trains and manages Haywood. “We were preparing for a short, orthodox fighter who only had four fights and now Kyle is facing a tall southpaw who’s got experience at championship level. Kyle gets a lot of southpaw sparring at my gym and he says he prefers boxing southpaws. 

“I’m grateful to Alex for stepping in to take the fight at a couple of weeks’ notice. He really fancies the job and I’ve told Kyle to expect a hard night. It has the makings of a really good fight.” 

An all-white mural in Driffield has led to controversy due to the lack of BAME representation and the fact that local hero and former British super-lightweight champion Curtis Woodhouse (24-7, 13 KOs) was not featured on it despite his successful football and boxing careers.

A Facebook user, Sarah Wilkinson, posted that Woodhouse was a glaring omission considering he was nicknamed “The Driffield Destroyer” and his Curtis Woodhouse Elite Boxing Academy is based there. 

Woodhouse addressed the issue via posts on social media, writing: “Seems as everybody is speaking for me on different sites across the internet. I suppose begrudgingly I better speak for myself! It’s pretty quick and pretty basic but when I saw it I thought ah that looks nice, it’s a bit white though! I then just got on with the rest of my day. The end!

“Today, I’m trying to sort out my horrendous internet connection! That offends me more than a painting! Bin Laden can get four bars from a cave in Afghanistan and I can’t get one bar sat next to the router in Swanland.

“You have the choice to be offended by anything you choose to be offended by. I’m very lucky that I work with absolutely everybody, all creeds, all colours, all religions and get on with everybody because that’s what I choose to do!

“I actually like the painting, it brightens up the area. I’m very proud to be born and raised in Driffield, Northfield Crescent’s finest!

“One race, the human race.”


Main image: Mauricio Lara. Photo: Matthew Pover/Matchroom Boxing.