Mexican Luis Alberto Lopez sent the First Direct Arena in Leeds into silence following his victory over hometown hero and IBF world featherweight champion, Josh Warrington, claiming a majority decision in the tightest of score lines. After twelve rounds the scorecards were read out as 114-114 draw against two 115-113 score lines in the Top Rank promoted Lopez’s favour Lopez was expectedly emotional following a brave and terrific late rally from Warrington to force the fight to ending up as close as it did.
Lopez started the contest in a fast and busy fashion in the opening round with a high punch output despite Warrington’s best efforts to negate that with the jab. Lopez offered good variation from head to body however Warrington did end the round strong with a three punch combination which got the attention of Lopez. The Mexican started the second round in the same fast fashion landing some head handed shots knocking Warrington backwards and making life uncomfortable for the champion. A clash of heads however sa a huge cut open up on Lopez above his left eye which was accidental as Warrington was in process of landing a long right hand. Lopez did look uncomfortable once the cut happened and Warrington tried in vain to capitalise on the situation however was in vain as Lopez began to counter the work of Warrington.
Warrington started to have more success in the third round, as he tagged the Mexican with a pair of left hooks, but Lopez came back well with a straight right and a good body shot, before landing and uppercut through Warrington’s guard. Round four saw Lopez solidify his momentum as Warrington attempted to up the pace with Lopez happy to counter at distance.
There was a better fifth round for the champion, though, as he roughed Lopez up in close. Warrington kept on Lopez’s chest for the first half of the sixth, but as the fight opened up both had success – Warrington landing well with the left hook and Lopez with an uppercut.
The bodywork of Lopez was starting to show in the seventh with Warrington becoming more of a static target and continued into the eighth with Warrington looking for big shots to get the Mexican off him, Lopez’s shots were starting to show as Warrington became more swollen in his face with trainer Sean O’Hagan (and father) showing genuine concern inbetween rounds.
Round nine saw Warrington foul Lopez with a shot on the leg of Lopez which saw a time out given to Lopez to recover. However, Lopez, remained hurt which saw Warrington come on strong and this continued into he tenth round with Warrington firmly into a second wind.
Warrington truly had the momentum in round ten as Lopez was looking to hold as Warrington continued to work on the inside as Lopez looked like he was fading. The eleventh round saw Warrington rock Lopez to his boots with a left hook as the Mexican was complaining about a clash of heads (which did not happen). Despite this Lopez was able to negate Warrington’s attacks with slick movement to keep at range of which were coming on time after time but with little thought behind his punches.
The final round Lopez got a stern warning from referee Bob Williams for holding. Warrington went straightafter Lopez, chasing him and cutting off the ring. Lopez held his feet and started to throw back, but Warrington landed clean with a left hook and for the last minute it was Warrington with the upper hand as Lopez traded.
The Warrington corner had thought they had done enough to retain their world title which they won earlier in the 2022 against Kiko Martinez however it was not to be in this fight of two halves.