By: Sean Cross
IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington says it’s “a very tough fight” on the eve of his title defense against Luis Alberto Lopez in Britain on Saturday. “Louis is full of pride, isn’t he? He’s like Ric Flair on the Whiz. He is brimming with confidence. He’s beaten a few guys in the United States and Mexico, but I’m not them.” Warrington, 31-1-1, holds the IBF belt after stopping Kiko Martinez last March. This will be his first title defense, although he previously held the IBF belt for several years, until 2021. Before being stopped by Mauricio Lara (suffice it to say, he fought Lara in the replay).
“I’ve been in this position my whole career,” Warrington said at a Fight Week press conference. “I wasn’t meant to be in this position. I wasn’t meant to win the European Cup, I wasn’t meant to win the World Cup. I am always the underdog. Despite being confident going into this weekend’s fight, Warrington still feels the 26-2 Lopez deserves to be taken seriously. “Any fight at this level is always going to be a tough fight” because he’s put himself in a position of obligation. He beat up some decent guys on the street but I don’t think he was mixed to the level I was with him. He certainly didn’t fight like I did.”
Needless to say, Warrington will be delighted as he fights in front of a home crowd in Leeds this weekend. The 32-year-old said of challenger Lopez: “He’s coming into the lion’s den. “You may not be in the ring with me, but it’s the atmosphere! I feed off that energy. Once I get on that stage, I’m a man and I do what I have to do to get the belt. I was around, wasn’t I? Many of these young fighters are going to feel confident. They are going to enjoy it. I think they forget that sometimes my name doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I don’t question it, but I’ve been with the opposition my whole career. I just have to focus on the best and I believe that will be enough to win on Saturday night.
The Warrington-Lopez match will be broadcast live stateside on DAZN on Saturday at 4pm ET.