Josh Warrington wanted to continue in the seventh round against Leigh Wood on Saturday night.
By the time he reached their post-fight press conference, Warrington was still confused as to why referee Michael Alexander didn’t grant him an opportunity to recover after Wood dropped him toward the end of the seventh round. Warrington’s rationale for turning his back on Alexander was that he heard the bell ring to end the round and therefore went to his corner to sit on his stool.
Warrington’s legs weren’t steady when he walked back to his corner and rested his gloves on the top ropes. He had turned around to face Alexander, however, when Alexander waved an end to their fight.
Alexander stopped their scheduled 12-round fight for Wood’s WBA featherweight title in part because Warrington wasn’t responding to his commands.
Warrington was undoubtedly hurt badly when Wood drilled him with a right hook and then a right-left combination that knocked Warrington flat on his back late in the seventh round of a fight Warrington was winning on all three scorecards at Utilita Arena Sheffield in Sheffield, England.
“I’m devastated,” Warrington said during their press conference. “Obviously, cruising the fight. We’re up on the scorecards. And, you know, switched off for a split second. And it’s boxing. I heard the bell go, turned around at eight and I thought I would’ve been at least given the opportunity to sit down. I know the referee’s there for our safety, but I’m 14 years deep into [my] career. You know, one bad night [at the] office … never really been hurt. This is me seventh world title fight, so yeah, I do feel that I should’ve been at least given the opportunity to carry on.”
Warrington reached his feet by the time Alexander counted to three. In hindsight, Warrington would’ve taken more time to get up.
Regardless, the former IBF featherweight champion believes he would’ve been able to recover between the seventh and eighth rounds had Alexander afforded him that chance.
“I mean, I know Eddie [Hearn] said I was badly hurt,” Warrington said. “Maybe I got up too quickly, but me senses were all with me. And like I said, I could hear the bell go and I turned around at eight. You know, I know we’re not in the States, but, you know, like [there are] places you can get up at nine and they’ll let it go on. And I know that they come in and give you instruction prior to it, but I turned around at eight and he’s waving it off.”
The 32-year-old Warrington had a point deducted during the seventh round for repeatedly hitting Wood (28-3, 17 KOs) on the back of his head. Warrington was in front on the scorecards of judges Howard Foster (58-56), Jean-Robert Laine (59-55) and David Singh (59-55) through six rounds of action.
Leeds’ Warrington (31-3-1, 8 KOs) lost by technical knockout for the second time in his 14-year pro career. Mexico’s Mauricio Lara (29-3-1, 16 KOs) was the first fighter to stop Nottingham’s Warrington, who was knocked down during the fourth and ninth rounds of that ninth-round TKO defeat in September 2021 at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
Lara later beat Wood by seventh-round TKO. Wood avenged that loss in the bout before he beat Warrington by outboxing Lara to win a 12-round unanimous decision May 27 at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.