Regaining World Title Fuels Leigh Wood’s Ambition for Unification Fight and Warrington Rematch
New Delhi : In a highly anticipated rematch at the Manchester Arena, Leigh Wood successfully contained the dangerous Mauricio Lara to reclaim his WBA world featherweight title through a unanimous decision. Wood, a 34-year-old boxer from Nottingham, England, took an early lead by delivering a powerful right uppercut that sent Lara to the canvas. Throughout the fight, Wood frustrated Lara with his tight defense. The judges scored the bout with two judges favoring Wood at 118-109, and the third judge scoring it 116-111 in his favor.
Lara, a 25-year-old boxer from Mexico City and previously ranked as ESPN’s No. 1 featherweight, faced the additional challenge of a weight disadvantage. Prior to the fight, Lara was stripped of the title by the British Boxing Board of Control. The board ruled that Lara could not weigh less than 128.5 pounds, as his weight during a routine check earlier in the week raised concerns about his ability to safely make weight at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds during Friday’s weigh-in.
Unification Showdown and Warrington Rematch in Leigh Wood’s Crosshairs After World Title Win
Due to weighing in at 129.8 pounds, exceeding the allowed limit, Lara was disqualified by the WBA, resulting in him being stripped of the belt. This meant that only Wood had the opportunity to win the title since he successfully made weight.
The victory on Saturday marks a significant turning point in Wood’s career, following his previous seventh-round defeat to Lara in February. Now, he can anticipate a potentially lucrative match against his English rival, Josh Warrington, later this year.
Leigh Wood Eyes Unification Fight and Warrington Rematch After Regaining World Title
Another potential option for Wood is a title unification fight with Luis Alberto Lopez, who earlier on Saturday successfully defended his IBF world featherweight title by stopping Michael Conlan in their bout.
After being declared a two-time world champion, Wood celebrated his victory in the ring by wearing a sombrero. Expressing his elation, he stated, “What an incredible feeling. I was determined not to lose, no matter the circumstances. I owe it to my exceptional team and their guidance. I’m always up for challenging fights. I might face defeats, but I bounce back and emerge victorious.”
Wood also mentioned the possibility of a future match against Josh Warrington, potentially taking place at the City Ground. He indicated that he may have two fights remaining in his career.
Lara had previously enjoyed success in England, notably with his stoppage win over Warrington, who was then considered the top featherweight in the world. He continued his impressive run by dethroning Wood earlier this year.
In the rematch against Wood, Lara, who was expected to defend his world title for the first time but encountered weight-related problems, struggled to assert himself in the fight.
Wood had been leading on all three judges’ scorecards in their previous encounter before it was stopped, and he started the rematch with the same level of activity.
Lara appeared sluggish and faced the consequences when he was caught off guard by a powerful right uppercut in the second round, causing him to be knocked down and receive a count from the referee. Although Lara quickly got back on his feet, he continued to struggle with his rhythm and coordination throughout the match.Wood Targets Unification and Warrington Rematch After World Title Win
Lara displayed a slightly increased sense of urgency in the fourth round, attempting to mount a comeback. However, Wood skillfully evaded any dangerous situations and managed to maintain control. In the early stages of the fifth round, Wood suffered a cut near his left eye. As a result, he became cautious about exposing himself to potential counterattacks while moving forward, effectively keeping Lara at a distance.
Throughout the match, Wood’s consistent use of the jab proved to be a source of frustration for Lara. In the 10th round, Lara appeared fortunate to avoid being knocked down for a second time.