Leigh Wood will make his long-anticipated return to Nottingham on 18 February after a 343 day layoff.
He faces the Mexican Mauricio Lara for the WBA featherweight world championship, Lara is the more active of the two, with only a 119 day layoff. Both fighters are on a collision course, with Lara being ten years to the younger of Wood, despite the similarities in their professional experience level.
I love this city! Last night was ours ❤️🏹🌳 pic.twitter.com/GZ6NHnAsnb
— Leigh Wood (@itsLeighWood) March 13, 2022
The last time Leigh Wood boxed in Nottingham, was his dramatic 12th round knockout of the Irish Michael Conlan on the 12th March 2022, a fight considered both comeback of the year, and fight of the year. Wood floored Conlan with a callous combination, after finding himself down on the scorecards throughout the fight. The flurry of punches sent Conlan through the ropes of the ring, in one of the most brutal finishes the sport has ever seen.
The knockout was so devastating that Wood had a ‘horrible feeling,’ after the best moment of his career.
Leigh Wood comes into this bout as a slight underdog, which he is no stranger to, as the best performance of his career came at -140 on the Vegas odds. In 2023 we now have AI produced odds, which put Mauricio Lara as a 52-48 favourite, fairly similar odds to Wood’s bout with Conlan.
Wood trains out of the legendary Ingle gym in Sheffield, including world champions ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed, Kell Brook and Johnny Nelson, so the gym is no stranger to huge fights under the bright lights of the boxing public.
Both fighters are virtually identical in terms of record, experience and reach. The ape index, which measures a fighter’s height across their wingspan, has Wood and Lara both at 0cm, with matching heights and reaches of 170cm, around 5″7. Both fighters are right-handed orthodox fighters.
Lara has beaten well-known English boxer Josh Warrington in 2021 behind closed doors. His last bout, he ended the Colombian Jose Sanmartin’s seven-fight winstreak by third round knockout to secure himself a shot at Leigh Wood’s title.
👿 𝘿𝘼𝙉𝘾𝙀 𝙒𝙄𝙏𝙃 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝘿𝙀𝙑𝙄𝙇 👿
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) January 15, 2023
In an interview with his promotion, Eddie Hearn’s matchroom boxing, Wood states that “There’s a very high probability that I’ll get him out of there early.” The fight isn’t expected to go all twelve rounds, with both men scoring knockout’s in their last bouts.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) January 9, 2023
The undercard will feature British boxers up and down the card, with a British super lightweight title fight between Dalton Smith and Billy Allington, along with an eliminator for the English Cruserweight title between Cheavon Clarke and Dec Spellman.
The event will be hosted on Dazn, with the main event expected for 10pm. Seats range from £47 to £172. You can purchase tickets to the event here:
Lead image: Drew Valadez via Flickr