Josh Warrington on overcoming Mauricio Lara defeat as he prepares for revenge

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Josh Warrington was so ashamed by his defeat against Mauricio Lara he would stay in the car on supermarket trips with his wife.

The Leeds man felt so low that even picking up the dog's droppings in the back garden felt like too much of a hard task to lift himself for.

It was back in February when Warrington's world was rocked by an upset loss and heavy beating by little-known Mexican banger Lara in an empty Wembley Arena.

Now this weekend he will look to get revenge for his first career defeat at a packed Headingley Stadium.

But it was those fans who he couldn't face in the aftermath of his shock loss.

“I think you fear it as a fighter,” he said.

“There were times when we were going out to the supermarket and I would say to the missus, 'I'll just wait in the car, I'll wait in the car, I can't come in, I can't do it'.

“I didn't want to put people in the awkward position of when you go past someone in the bread aisle and they're like, 'Josh are you alright mate, what happened?'.

“I didn't want to put people in that position.”

Warrington's defeat happened in February but it wasn't until May when it really sunk in.

He had given up the IBF featherweight crown before the Lara fight believing victory would hand him a big pay-per-view bout with WBA champion Can Xu on May 1.

But that night, Joseph Parker took on Derek Chisora at Manchester Arena instead and Warrington was only an interested spectator for the heavyweight clash.

“For the first six or seven weeks, I was dealing with injuries and that covered up all the thoughts of losing,” he said.

“I had a fractured jaw, I had to have an operation on my elbow, I had a damaged shoulder, my ear was perforated.

“I didn’t really leave the house because I was kind of embarrassed and I didn’t want to bump into folk and them asking me, ‘What happened Josh?’.

“For six weeks, I was recovering.

“Then when I went to the Parker-Chisora fight, that’s when it hit home because that should have been my night, that should have been my re-organised fight with Can Xu.

“I was driving back from Manchester that night on the M62 and I broke down after that, probably the lowest I’ve ever been.

“For about two weeks, I just had my head in my a***, just moping around the house, I couldn’t be bothered about anything.

“The garden was piled up with dog s*** and I couldn’t be bothered going out and dealing with that.”

He had a chat with Anthony Joshua about losing but, in the end, it was time and the love of his fans which brought him back around.

Warrington may have lost his unbeaten record in his 31st fight but he didn't lose his way with words as he described how he finally got over the defeat ahead of this weekend's return clash.

  • Josh Warrington taken to hospital and given oxygen after shock defeat to Mauricio Lara

“Time’s a healer,” he said.

“If you’ve got a worldie of a girl and she leaves you, you’re devastated and you think your world has come crashing down.

“But eventually, you go out and find another girl and she’s the love of your life.

“When I had a chat with AJ about three weeks after it, he said something similar.

“He said I would get to a stage where I would just want to get back on the horse or f*** the game off completely.

“After that week or so of moping about the house, I thought of that. I thought I can do something about this.

“I thought to myself, 'Am I just going to throw my toys out of the pram and keep sulking? No, I can do something about this'.

“I just had a good word with myself.

“When I did start to go out and about, maybe taking kids to the park, and people did spot me they would say, 'Hey, you know what? You've done the city proud, you've done us proud' or 'You've given us some great nights, when are you going to be back, champ?'.

“It's been nothing but respect and admiration for myself and my career so far, so them little worries soon went away.

“The crowd for this weekend itself has shown what amazing fans I have.

“I come out to Marching on Together, I've got it tattooed on my leg, the song says 'And we've had our ups and down and we've been through it all together'.”

  • Josh Warrington has a mural in Leeds – but admits his girls are keener on Peppa Pig

Warrington knows it is all or nothing this weekend at the home of Leeds Rhinos. Another defeat against Lara would all-but end a career which has seen him win British, Commonwealth, European and world titles.

He has studied the first fight back when he was rocked in round four and seemingly out on his feet before being eventually stopped in the ninth after he was decked again.

“I've watched it back a fair few times,” said Warrington, who is trained by his dad Sean O'Hagan.

“It doesn't scar me. I have watched it back a few times with my old man and it gets to round four and he is like, 'Yeah turn it off now'.

“We have to skip through that bit. I don't think he likes seeing it.

“I think you have to watch it, you need to learn from your mistakes.

“It's not nice to watch it and see yourself laying on the canvas in that kind of position but it has happened.

“I've watched it back a few times and it makes my toes curl every time I watch it. Not because of what happened, and getting knocked out but because of the mistakes I was making.

“The mistakes I made were ridiculous. I've learned a lot from it.”

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But what he learned from that night will be put to the test on Saturday night.

“I've built Mauricio as a dangerous fighter and someone who can cause a lot of damage, and I know he can cause a lot of damage anyways because he's done it in the past,” added Warrington.

“I'm not thinking back to old events, I'm just thinking of the game plan and that I stick to it.

“I have to make sure I don't get carried away with dropping my hands and coming back in straight lines, thinking I can throw shots from back here and get away with it.

“It tightens everything up when you have that bit of fear.”

  • Anthony Joshua
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