Luis Lopez (right) against Gabriel Flores. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images
Luis Lopez has come a long way from fighting on obscure cards. He is one win away from fulfilling his goal of winning a world title.
Lopez will challenge IBF featherweight titleholder Josh Warrington, Saturday night, at First Direct Arena, in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds, England. The 12-round bout will stream live on DAZN (1 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, Warrington weighed in at 125.3 pounds. Lopez weighed 124.3 pounds.
Lopez (26-2, 15 knockouts) became the mandatory challenger to Warrington’s IBF title on December 3 of last year, dropping Isaac Lowe twice before knocking him out in the seventh round. In his most recent bout, on August 20, Lopez stopped Yeison Vargas in the second round of a stay-busy fight.
The 29-year-old Lopez toiled in obscurity, mostly fighting on small cards or club shows in and around his hometown of Mexicali, Mexico. In May 2019, Lopez faced prospect Ruben Villa, losing by unanimous decision in a competitive fight.
Since the loss to Villa, Lopez has reeled off nine wins in a row, including a split decision victory over Andy Vences. Lopez also notched a significant unanimous decision win over junior lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores on September 10 of last year.
Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman, who was recently elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, believes Lopez has a very good chance at defeating Warrington.
“We all realize Luis is going into the lion’s den by fighting in Warrington’s hometown,” Goodman told The Ring on Thursday. “It’s a tough fight. Luis understands what a win means. A win turns his life around, including bigger and better fights. He has to go out there and take the fight to Josh. He’s in the best shape of his life. We know he can do it.”
Lopez has had two stay-busy fights since the win over Lowe. Goodman, who has an impeccable eye for talent, has seen Lopez get better with each fight.
“We saw what a capable fighter Lopez was with the win over Vences. We really didn’t do much with him. We put him against Flores and the fight was at 130 pounds. He got the win and went back down to 126 pounds, which is where he belongs.
“Top Rank is very confident Luis could go into England and get a win over Warrington. He has a job to do. He’s focused.”
Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KOs) most recently fought on March 26, stopping Kiko Martinez in the seventh round to win the IBF title. The 32-year-old suffered a broken jaw in the fight.
The win over Martinez followed two fights against Mauricio Lara, who stopped Warrington on February 13 of last year. They fought to a technical draw less than seven months later.
Warrington is ranked No. 5 by The Ring at 126 pounds.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.