Horror cut to Mauricio Lara’s eye forces Josh Warrington fight to be called off

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Josh Warrington’s bid for redemption ended in controversy after his clash with Mauricio Lara was halted by a nightmare cut to the Mexican.

The Leeds Warrior was denied revenge when the bout was stopped at the end of the second round over an accidental headbutt which opened up a nasty gash above Lara's left eye.

Referee Steve Gray went over to the corner at the end of the round and stopped the contest.

Because it had not gone four rounds it was ruled a technical draw.

A fight must go at least four rounds before they can go to the judges' scorecards.

Warrington was fuming and the fans at a packed Headingley Stadium showed their anger, too.

It was a huge anti-climax after the big rematch looked set to bubble up into a rip-roaring fight.

It was also heartbreak for Warrington, who was desperate to put right his shock defeat by the Mexican back in February.

Now he must wait for a third fight or move on from Lara, the man who ended his unbeaten run earlier this year.

Warrington said: “All these people wanted to see me get redemption tonight.

“I thought I opened him up with a punch in the first round but a clash of styles, my head hit him.

“I'm absolutely gutted.

"I wanted to put on a performance and that was always going to come at some point, I felt I was really getting into it.

"I know my promoter Eddie Hearn might want to look in other directions but I need to get this slate cleared, I need to get the W over this man.

"Especially after the second round I sat down and said 'this is mine for the taking', I could see it being an early night but not in this kind of scenario.

"Weeks and weeks of promotion, all of these people came out and I can only say sorry, we will have our redemption."

Warrington, 30, lost to Lara in brutal fashion back in February when he was stopped in the ninth after being floored in the fourth as well.

That fight happened behind closed doors at Wembley Arena.

But this felt a world away from the eerie atmosphere of that night as the home of Leeds Rhinos was bouncing as their hero walked out to Leeds United's 'Marching on Together' anthem and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Lara, decked out in a sombrero and poncho, was booed and had a drink thrown over him as he made his way into the cauldron of noise.

Warrington had overlooked the 23-year-old Mexican in their first meeting but here he started with a tight guard and seemed wary of his opponent's power.

The Leeds man landed a good right when he pounced on Lara on the ropes but he got caught as well by the heavy-handed Lara.

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The Mexican was already moaning about Warrington's head colliding with his but the referee waved away his protests.

The second round had the crowd gasping as Warrington stood toe-to-toe with Lara and big hooks were exchanged.

It was a dangerous move but in one trade off, Warrington caught Lara with his head and it opened up the cut.

The blood only really started to flow towards the end of the round.

Gray gave the Mexican's corner time to work on it but when he stood to his feet to begin the third the referee waved it off.

It was a disaster for Warrington and it denied everyone what looked set to be a classic fight.

Revenge will at least have to wait for however long it will take for Lara's eye to heal at least.

  • Boxing
  • Eddie Hearn

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