‘The Leeds Warrior’ Josh Warrington (31-1-1) makes the first defence in his second reign as IBF world featherweight title, as he welcomes Luis Alberto Lopez (26-2) to the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
Warrington first held the world title after defeating Lee Selby at his beloved Elland Road in 2018. ‘The Leeds Warrior’ made his first defence in the 2018 fight of the year, as he came out on top in a sensational battle with Carl Frampton.
Warrington’s second defence would be another big name, as he won by split decision against Kid Galahad in a fight that never quite lived up to expectation. But Warrington reminded everyone of his exciting fighting style four months later, as he blasted Sofiane Takoucht out in two rounds.
Warrington left the Queensberry Promotions banner following the Takoucht victory to rejoin his former promoter, Matchroom Boxing. ‘The Leeds Warrior’ relinquished the IBF title at the end of 2020, prior to his first fight under Matchroom for four years against Mauricio Lara.
However, Warrington would be on the end of a crushing loss to Lara, which was considered one of the biggest shocks to ever take place in a British ring. The Leeds man wanted redemption, and a rematch with Lara was made. However, Warrington and Lara would clash heads in round two, leading to the bout being waived and declared a technical draw.
Whilst the Warrington and Lara rivalry went on, Kid Galahad picked up the vacant IBF belt, but would be unsuccessful in his first defence, as he was stopped by a former opponent of Warrington, Kiko Martinez.
Warrington had previously defeated Martinez in 2017 by majority decision, and five years later, the unexpected rematch between the pair was made for the Spaniard’s IBF title. Warrington reclaimed the gold he had never lost in the ring, stopping Martinez in round seven.
Lopez will be looking to replicate the success of his Mexican counterpart, Lara, as he travels to Leeds. However, the ‘Leeds Warrior’ will not be taking this test lightly.
Lopez fought the early part of his career in his home country but has since ventured to the US, he was soon brought in as an opponent against Andy Vences in 2020, Vences was in the process of a rebuild, but Lopez ripped up the script and defeated Vences by split decision. Lopez was given another opportunity against the undefeated Gabriel Flores Jr, and yet again Lopez made a mockery of the bookies and dealt Flores Jr the first loss of his career by wide points decision.
Lopez travelled to the UK next, and would dismantle Isaac Lowe, dropping the British fight three times on his way to a seventh-round knockout victory. Two knockout victories followed over Raul Chirino and Yeison Vargas in the US to set up his world title shot.
The undercard sees an all-Australian world title fight, as Ebanie Bridges (8-1) returns to the Arena in which she won her IBF bantamweight title to square off with Shannon O’Connell (23-6-1).There’s been verbal’s traded in the build-up, and the pair will finally lock horns this Saturday.
Felix Cash (15-0) takes on Celso Neves (9-2-2) as he continues his rise towards a big fight soon, as it is heavily rumoured that a clash with Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams will be next, providing Cash passes the Neves test. JJ Metcalf (23-2) will look to continue his momentum from his big victory last time out, as he faces Courtney Pennington (16-5-3).
Shannon Courtenay (7-2) returns for the first time since October 2021 as she takes on Gemma Ruegg (5-5). Hopey Price (8-0) looks to impress in his hometown as he faces Jonathan Santana (9-3-1). Team GB star Calum French (3-0) faces a tough task, as he fights the undefeated Kurt Jackson (3-0).
Junaid Bostan (3-0) looks to continue his knockout streak this Saturday as he locks horns with Athanasios Glynos (2-1). Rhiannon Dixon (6-0) makes it a hat-trick of female fights on the card, as she takes on Kristine Shergold (7-6-1).
Cory O’Regan (8-0) looks to continue the undefeated start to his professional career, but Shaun Cooper (13-4) will be the next man to stand in his way. Finally, Koby McNamara (3-0) looks to remain undefeated as he fights Nabil Ahmed (1-12-2).
The action kicks off earlier than normal in the First Direct Arena this Saturday, as the action starts at 1:30pm to allow for an interval between 7pm and 9pm to show the World Cup game between England and France in the Arena.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) December 5, 2022
This big 11-fight card, topped by Warrington’s defence of his world title in front of his faithful fans, can be watched live and exclusively on DAZN.