Josh Warrington loses world title in Leeds, Ebanie Bridges retains hers – Ring News 24

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Josh Warrington (left) lost his IBF featherweight title to Luis Alberto Lopez. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez 27-2 (11) became the IBF featherweight champion with a majority decision victory over hometown hero Josh Warrington 32-1-1 (8) at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England on Saturday night.

The 29-year-old Lopez got off to a good start and while Warrington, 32, rallied late, the horse had already bolted. Judge Howard Foster scored the fight even at 114-114, while judges Mike Fitzgerald and Adam Height turned in indentical cards of 115-113.

“I’m really happy at the moment. It has been a long period of preparation. As I said in the build-up, this is my moment, it comes from hard work. I’m delighted to be world champion,” Lopez said.

“To be honest I had to respect him coming into his city, in front of his people. I knew he was a dirty fighter but he surprised me even more, he was hitting me to the legs, in the gut and the referee I didn’t feel did his work.”

Warrington believes he did enough to nick the fight.

“I’m absolutely devastated losing my title like that but I want to say a big thank you to all these for making noise, so thank you,” he said.

“I did have aspiration of doing other things. Obviously I wanted to go to the (United) States and I still want to do that. Maybe unifying is a step too far but I think I can still fight one of the other champions. Obviously I would have the rematch as well because I thought I was a little hard done by there.”

In the main support bout IBF bantamweight champion Ebanie ‘The Blode Bomber’ Bridges 9-1 (4) retained her world title with an eighth-round stoppage victory over ‘Shotgun’ Shannon O’Connell 23-7-1 (11) in their grudge match.

The lead-up to fight was spicy, with O’Connell labelling Bridges a “skanky stripper” for her penchant for wearing linegere at weigh-in.

The 39-year-old O’Connell started well, wobbling Bridges with an overhand right in the opening frame. But at the rounds progressed O’Connell simply couldn’t keep the forward charging Bridges off her, often getting trapped on the ropes with little choice but to exchange.

Bridges, clearly the bigger puncher of the two, dropped O’Connell in the third round. In the eighth she trapped O’Connell on the ropes and snapped her head back with a series of shots that forced referee Howard Foster to step in and stop the fight at the 1:45 mark.

“You know what, not bad for a skanky stripper!” Bridges said. “She can hit. She can bang.

“She came, she was hungry, she was fierce. But I was better, and that’s why I’m the champion.”

“I’m not usually disrespectful to my opponent but she was so disrespectful to me the whole time.

“I’m very satisfied with that win. I hope the world, I hope Australia is proud of me now. We know who the queen of Australian boxing is.

“I knew it was going to be the hardest fight of my career, and it was.

“Team skanky stripper forever!”

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