Josh Warrington headlines Saturday night’s card at the First Direct Arena in Leeds as he takes on a Mexican for the third time in four fights.
However this time on DAZN, he makes the first defence of his second reign as IBF world champion against hard-hitting Luis Alberto Lopez, rather than rival Mauricio Lara.
Rhiannon Dixon (6-0) kicks the night off at an extremely early 1:30PM, as she fights 41-year-old Kristine Shergold, who has previously gone the distance with Delfine Persoon. Then it is the turn of British lightweight prospect Calum French (3-0), as he fights undefeated Yorkshireman Kurt Jackson (3-0), who may well be better supported on the night.
The third fight is highly-rated Junaid Bostan’s (3-0) fourth of the year. He has arrived onto the scene with heaps of praise from the Grant Smith gym in Sheffield, with Sunny Edwards and Dalton Smith telling fans to keep an eye on the 20-year-old super-welterweight. He fights Greece’s Athanasios Glynos (2-1), who will be trying to put an end to Bostan’s 100% knockout ratio.
Leeds fan Hopey Price (8-0) is big for a super-bantamweight, and he will seek to use that size advantage to overcome Jonathan Santana (9-3-1) as he and trainer Dave Coldwell look to get amongst the top names in a crowded domestic division. Next up is Dewsbury southpaw, Cory O’Regan (8-0), who faces his first opponent with a winning record, taking on former Boxxer Series tournament contender Shaun Cooper (13-4). Cooper exited the competition in the first fight, losing to tournament favourite and eventual runner-up Rylan Charlton, by third round knockout.
Shannon Courtenay (7-2) returns to action following a fourteen-month absence and will be looking to get back to winning ways after an unsuccessful title challenge against Jamie Mitchell last October. She fights Gemma Ruegg (5-5) in what will be Ruegg’s eighth fight since April. That is before 22-year-old local lad Koby McNamara (3-0) takes to the stage to fight journeyman (1-12-2) Nabil Ahmed, as he aims to announce himself as the next superstar from Leeds.
Fresh from an impressive win over Kerman Lejarraga in Bilbao, JJ Metcalf (23-2) returns to the UK to fight American Courtney Pennington (16-5-3). That’s before the boxing is stopped and the arena turns into a ‘fan park’, according to Eddie Hearn, where the crowd can watch England play France in the World Cup quarter-finals.
After a minimum two-hour break (providing it doesn’t go to extra-time) for the football, fighting will resume with the main card around 9pm and Felix Cash (15-0) will go toe-to-toe with Celso Neves (9-2-2) in a must-win fight for the Brit. The promise of a WBA ‘semi-final’ world title eliminator against Ammo Williams is on the line for Cash, which would provide a clear route to a world title.
The penultimate fight of the night is for Ebanie Bridges’ (8-1) IBF bantamweight world title. She makes her first defence of the belt against fellow Australian Shannon O’Connell (23-6-1). The 39-year-old challenger is on an eight-fight win streak, including a win over now IBF super-bantamweight champion Cherneka Johnson. It will be O’Connell’s third world title challenge in her third weight class.
Last but certainly not least, Josh Warrington (31-1-1) will take centre stage in front of his Leeds faithful as he fights Luis Alberto Lopez (26-2). ‘The Leeds Warrior’ will be hoping that this fight against a Mexican goes better than his last two, although he will know more of Lopez than he knew of Lara before his shock defeat. This will be Lopez’ second visit to the United Kingdom after knocking out Isaac Lowe at York Hall last December.
Fans can expect a fast start, with Warrington known for his volume and pressure, whilst Lopez has knocked down his last three opponents by the second round and stopped each of them by the seventh. Meanwhile, Warrington managed to knock down Kiko Martinez in the first round of his last fight, as he won back his IBF title and achieved just his second knockout victory in his last seven fights.
Newfound power from Warrington could be a serious weapon if maintained with his high level of output, and the main event is sure to be a cracker – atmosphere dependant on the outcome of the England game. The full card will be live on DAZN this Saturday from 1:30pm.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) December 5, 2022