After mysteriously appearing in the IBF featherweight ratings earlier this month, unsung Mexican Mauricio Lara has vowed to make the most of his unlikely world title opportunity against reigning champion Josh Warrington on February 13.

With the IBF Ratings Committee seemingly mightily impressed by Lara’s 10-round points win over journeyman Sergio Puente in December, the 22-year-old Mexican was somehow elevated from obscurity to 10th spot in the organisation’s world rankings 11 days ago. 

Puente is the 112th ranked lightweight in Mexico, according to BoxRec’s ratings algorithm, but Lara insists he is ready for a huge leap into world class against a fighter often regarded as the best featherweight on the planet.

It appears a pretty straightforward defence for the unbeaten Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs), who has already been pegged as an 1/18 favourite in early betting markets, but Lara  (22-2, 15 KOs) is talking a good fight at least, inspired by his newly-born daughter.

“I feel excited and motivated by the birth of my one-month-old daughter Aitana, that is the main motivation and others include my wife Barbara and my parents. He is the champion,  I take nothing away from him. He does not scare me or anything,” Lara told Marca

“We have worked hard. I am in my best moment both personally and on a sporting level. I have noticed that I am growing in my career. I’ve had tough opponents. The world title fight is a challenge for me and that’s why I took it.

“I don’t like to watch videos of my opponents, but [my team] has told me is that [Warrington] hasn’t fought with hard-hitting opponents. He is an opponent who throws a lot of punches. Let’s see what the outcome will be on the day of the fight. I promise to have a war inside the ring against him.”