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Luis Lopez narrowly wins on points against Josh Warrington

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LEEDS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Luis Alberto Lopez celebrates defeating Josh Warrington during their IBF World Featherweight Title Fight at First Direct Arena on December 10, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Mexican challenger Luis Alberto Lopez (27-2, 15 KO’s) managed to squeeze out a majority decision win against favorite Josh Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KO’s), beating the Brit in his own home country and winning himself the IBF World Featherweight title – from Warrington – in the process. The match was held in the UK at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday, December 10. The scorecards (in favor of Luis Lopez) denoted scores of 115-113 twice, and 114-114.

Despite a cut that Lopez suffered in the second round, the two fighters seemed very much neck-on-neck throughout the majority of the match. Both fighters suffered little expense at fighting on the inside as much as possible, and combinations along with body shots were traded amongst themselves. The bout was also competitive as both fighters refused to give ground, making for a constant back and forth where the two boxers alternated between coming forward.

Around the latter stage of the twelve-round fight, both fighters had tired, resulting in a lot of clinching and holding. Despite the frequent interruptions that occurred in these latter rounds, both fighters still had spurts where they could loose their punches on the opponent. After the twelve rounds were over, Lopez received the decision win, though judging by the course of the fight it could have also gone the other way. However, Lopez seemed to be most effective with his body shots, and seemed to be the fitter and more eager opponent on the night which likely helped him in the end.

This loss marks Josh Warrington’s second overall, his first coming by way of stoppage when he was defeated by Mauricio Lara (25-2-1, 18 KO’s) early in 2021. Warrington has held the IBF title since 2018 and has defended it several times in the past four years against worthwhile contenders including Kiko Martinez (44-11-2, 31 KO’s), Kid Galahad (28-3, 17 KO’s) and Carl Frampton(28-3, 16 KO’s).

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Josh Warrington had been the IBF Featherweight champion for nearly four years prior to his recent loss to Luis Alberto Lopez. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Luis Alberto Lopez in comparison has won his first world title, and had never participated in a world title bout prior to facing Warrington. Having fought in the UK, and therefore out of his comfort zone in his opponent’s home country – all while being the underdog – Lopez has rightfully put on an impressive win that will be remembered throughout his career.

The co-main event featured a bout between Ebanie Bridges (9-1, 4 KO’s) and Shannon O’Connell (23-7-1, 11 KO’s) proved to be a thrilling women’s championship match for the IBF World Bantamweight title. Bridges – who won the IBF title earlier this year – retained her title after managing to stop O’Connell in the 8th round of their ten-round match. Though the fight seemed too close to truly call with both female fighters throwing whatever they could up close, but it was Bridges who seemed like the more aggressive fighter at the latter stage of the fight. She eventually cornered O’Connell against the ropes and unleashed series of unanswerable combinations to the point the referee stopped the fight, officially making Bridges retain her title through a stoppage/TKO.

With Lopez’ latest win, the Featherweight division now holds a total of four world champions who are of Mexican descent: WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KO’s), WBC champion Rey Vargas (36-0, 23 KO’s), WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete (36-1, 30 KO’s) and Lopez himself as the new IBF Featherweight champion. It is still unclear as to how the future will look and whether the champions will all face each other, as Emanuel Navarrete will be facing former Super Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KO’s) a division up – to challenge for the vacant WBO world title – while Rey Vargas will presumably also fight a division up and face O’Shaquie Foster (19-2, 11 KO’s) for likely the vacant WBC Super Featherweight title.

How did you feel the fight between Josh Warrington and Luis Alberto Lopez? Leave your comments on the main event (or the other fights on the card) below.