Josh Warrington admits he regrets trading blows with Mauricio Lara after suffering fractured jaw and a burst eardrum
JOSH WARRINGTON is kicking himself for fighting fire with fire and getting scorched by young hotshot Mauricio Lara.
Leeds' featherweight hero thought he had a Wembley arena tune-up on Saturday, after 15 months out, before bidding for a second world title in the Spring.
But the former IBF 9st king suffered his first loss when the 22-year-old stunned him with a fourth-round left hook and brutalised him until ref Howard Foster stopped it in the ninth.
Warrington, 30, suffered a fractured jaw and a burst eardrum after trying to out-bang a banger.
And he is clever enough to know exactly where he went wrong to end up briefly in hospital and facing a painful rebuild.
He said: "I went to hospital on Saturday night, just as a precaution and passed all the tests.
"It was the first time I have been down and touched the canvas, as a professional.
"I've got a fracture on my jaw and some swelling around my lips but that is to be expected when you trade with a big-punching Mexican.
"Congratulations to Lara, he grabbed his opportunity. Looking back, I should have boxed more clever and made it easy for myself."
Sky Sports' ringside pundits Adam Booth and Johnny Nelson were fuming Warrington took five more rounds of punishment after being brutally felled in the fourth.
The fighter's father and trainer Sean refused to throw in the towel and Foster gave him multiple chances to recover when it might have been wiser to end his assault.
But Warrington defended his dad and Foster for letting the hard-to-watch contest continue until he was floored again and needed oxygen from then medics.
He said: "I was hurt and down in the fourth but I was always conscious and never felt like I couldn't carry on, even though I was stumbling.
"I went down again in the ninth but I told the referee that I was getting up. But he told me I wasn't and it was all over.
"I will take some time now to recover. I was out of the ring for 15 months but I had been training all the way through, waiting for a date, and that was difficult".
Warrington, who spent yesterday licking his wounds and celebrating the third birthdays of his twin daughters, had a hit list of champions he wanted to meet before the shock loss.
And he hopes his ability to sell-out the Leeds arena with £1million gates will still earn him another title shot soon.
"I still believe I can fulfil my dreams of more world titles," he said.
"There are still big fights out there and hopefully I can look back at this as just a bump in the road."
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