Josh Warrington has vacated his IBF featherweight title after the governing body refused to sanction a unification clash with WBA champion Xu Can.
The Leeds fighter is preparing to face Mauricio Lara on February 13, live on Sky Sports, but earlier this month, the proposed mega-fight with Can was delayed with a new working date of April 24.
Warrington’s promoter Eddie Hearn will now look to finalise that fight or make a giant match-up with WBC king Gary Russell, with the Ring Magazine belt also at stake in both bouts.
“It’s so important for Josh to be in a mega-fight after Lara on February 13,” said Matchroom Sport managing director Eddie Hearn.
“He has his heart set on the Ring belt and it’s up to us to make the Can or Russell fights for April or early May.
“I’ve been working hard with Robert Diaz of Golden Boy to close Xu Can and also had several conversations with Luis De Cubas regarding a Gary Russell bout – both fights are Fight of the Year contenders.”
"HE HAS WEIRD PUNCH POWER!"😲
Mauricio Lara has stopped nine of his last 13 opponents and @J_Warrington is watching him closely👀
📺Warrington v Lara February 13th pic.twitter.com/UpVkUOcNx8
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) January 19, 2021
“It’s disappointing we couldn’t have the IBF title on the line, but I can’t let those decisions stand in the way of me going down in British boxing history by facing the very best in the division,” said Warrington.
“I’ve always dreamt about winning the Ring belt, for me it leaves no doubt who the king of the division is.
“Right now, my mind and focus is on Lara for February 13 and then I’m looking to pick up that beautiful red and blue belt.”