Katie Taylor defended her undisputed world lightweight title with a shut-out points win over American Jennifer Han at Headingley Stadium.
The 35-year-old was given a solid test by her opponent, who turned professional in 2013 and is a former IBF featherweight champion.
It was Taylor‘s first fight since she was pushed to the limit by her former amateur rival Natasha Jonas, claiming a narrow points win in May.
But it was soon evident there was little danger of the champion being stretched again by an opponent who boasts a solitary inside-the-distance win on her 22-fight record.
Taylor set the tempo from the start, landing accurate lead lefts and strong right hands as she wore down Han before dropping her with a short left in the eighth, although Han protested a slip.
The three ringside judges concurred that Taylor had won every round of the contest, handing her a 100-89 points victory.
Conor Benn made his frustration plain despite cruising to his 19th consecutive professional win over experienced American Adrian Granados.
Benn dominated from the start of the contest but Granados’ back-pedalling style did not go down well with the 24-year-old, who angrily implored his opponent to fight in the final round.
Granados, who had previously acquitted himself well against high-calibre opposition including Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, perhaps wisely refused to oblige, and the judges duly delivered their 100-90, 99-91, 97-93 verdicts.
REPORT: Warrington deflated as chance of redemption snatched by Lara cut
Amid a haze of strewn pints and the swirling boos of his 20,000 supporters, Josh Warrington’s pursuit of redemption succumbed to the most unsatisfactory ending as an accidental clash of heads meant his long-anticipated rematch with Mauricio Lara was ruled a two-round technical draw.
After the distressing nature of Warrington’s defeat against Lara last April, when his body broke and betrayed him long before his pride had shattered, this was a cruel and unforgiving conclusion that leaves so many unanswered questions and will fail to alleviate those scars.
His astonishing bravery on that fateful night in Wembley did little to soothe doubts over what spirit remained towards the end of Warrington’s decorated career. In the end, he was denied the opportunity to prove those doubters wrong. But then, boxing is a brutal business, and there are no sympathies reserved even for its icons, and safety is always paramount.
That will not console the months of preparation and the psychological demons that still need to be conquered, though. A night when Headingley was supposed to be the pedestal that resurrected or razed Warrington’s career has instead left him in a disappointing limbo.
The Leeds Warrior started well before an accidental clash of heads opened up a deep cut on the Mexican’s eye
Bellew: Taylor is the perfect role model
“She’s the perfect role model, we’ve got the best pound for pound female fighter right here,” Tony Bellew said of Taylor after her emphatic win tonight.
“Girls watching, learn from her, because she’s the perfect role model.”
Hearn: Does Galahad even want the Warrington rematch?
“Does Kid Galahad even want to give him (Warrington) the opportunity? He'll be out in Sheffield in November,” Hearn added.
“He's been a featherweight for a long time, could he move up? I still think he'll want the Lara fight. I want to see him back out and active. There's no reason he should have to wait until early next year.”
Shane McGuigan’s take on the cut
Hearn: There are other fights for Josh Warrington
“I don’t think the cut was that bad at first, I actually thought Lara was looking for a way out,” promoter Eddie Hearn told DAZN.
“That’s never happened to me before, I’m gutted for josh. (Josh said) that I cant believe he beat me (in the first fight). I thought he looked really fresh, I still believe he would have won (the fight).”
“There are other fights for Josh Warrington. Lara will be out for six months, I’d like to see Josh back in the ring.”
Warrington: I'm absolutely gutted
“All these people wanted to see me get redemption tonight,” Warrington told DAZN.
“I thought I opened him up with a punch in the first round, but a clash of styles, my head hit him.
“I'm absolutely gutted.”
MAJORITY DRAW - Fight ends after two rounds
A majority draw is announced by Michael Buffer.
Lara’s cut was simply too bad to continue, giving the referee no choice but to wave the fight off.
A third fight is surely going to happen now, as neither man looks happy with the outcome.
Frustratingly, the bout was just heating up at the time of the stoppage.
The fight is waved off!
The fight has been waved off after the cut to the eye of Lara!
Unbelievable...we’re just waiting for confirmation of that it is indeed a technical draw.
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