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Josh Warrington loses IBF featherweight title to Luis Alberto Lopez in thriller

Warrington loses world title to Lopez in thriller
© Reuters
Josh Warrington loses his IBF featherweight title to Luis Alberto Lopez in a thrilling fight in Leeds.

Josh Warrington has lost his IBF featherweight title after succumbing by majority decision to Luis Alberto Lopez in Leeds.

Warrington went into the bout in front of his hometown crowd looking for the victory which would set up unification fights or a defence in the United States.

However, the 32-year-old suffered just the second defeat of his professional career as Lopez earned two 115-113 verdicts, the other scorecard being 114-114.

In what seems like an increasingly rare occurrence in boxing, the cards were fair, Lopez having the better of the opening eight rounds before Warrington rallied down the stretch.

While Lopez suffered a cut from an accidental headbutt in the second round, the Mexican did not let it affect him as he continued to throw shots with creativity and purpose in equal measure.

Warrington acknowledged to his corner at the end of the sixth that a body shot had troubled him and there only appeared to be one winner until Lopez required a brief stoppage due to being hit on the back.

From there, Warrington was relentless, aware that he needed to make an impression on the judges having barely made a dent in his opponent.

Although Lopez was required to hang on during the 11th round, he just about stood firm to reach the bell, and even though he lost the 12th, the away fighter avoided any further alarm.

Despite ending the stronger of the two fighters, Warrington, unbeknownst to him, would have needed a final-round stoppage to prevail, and Lopez was left to celebrate becoming world champion in his 27th outing.

In the chief support, Ebanie Bridges made a successful first defence of her IBF bantamweight title against fellow Australian Shannon O'Connell.

Bridges appeared hurt in the first round after being caught by a straight right from her fierce rival, but she responded by dropping O'Connell in the third.

To her credit, O'Connell battled on gamely, continuing to show a willingness to become involved in brutal exchanges, but the referee made the right call in stepping in to wave off the fight in the eight as Bridges unloaded against the ropes.

Meanwhile, Felix Cash posted a points victory over Celso Neves to set up a showdown with Ammo Williams early next year.

The unbeaten British middleweight only prevailed 77-75 on the scorecards in a fight that he was expected to win more comfortably, but he now advances onto a world title eliminator with one of the United States' top prospects.

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