Leigh Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) looked like 24K gold on Saturday night as he defeated former WBA Featherweight Champion Mauricio Lara (26-3-1.19 KOs) by unanimous decision in 12 rounds, this was by no means competitive nor fun to watch at the AO Arena in Manchester, England. After the fight, Wood made it clear that he wanted the recently defeated Josh Warrington next.
(Image credit: Dave Thompson Matchroom)
Lara looked exhausted to the core, showing none of the aggression he showed in his previous fight with Wood. Looking at Lara’s training video long before the fight, you can see that he has gained weight since winning the WBA belt in February last year, and it seems obvious that he celebrated a lot after that victory and ate well.
Considering how much weight Lara had gained in the last four months, asking him to take it off without deflating was too much effort.
Using a game plan that consisted of strategic draws, many in number, striking and retreating, Wood cleared his way to a decision by points of 18-109, 118-109 and 116-111. The fan booed at ringside. You know things go wrong when fans booed their hometown fighter Wood for spoiling, but that’s what we saw tonight.
they didn’t like Wood’s spoiling tactic with constant clenching, straight arms that are illegal, and backing away every time Lara got close.
After the fight, Wood has repeatedly stated that he wants to fight at the City Grounds in Nottingham next, which is code meaning he will fight Josh Warrington because those are the only matchups that would draw crowds there.
While Wood has expressed interest in a unification fight against IBF champion Luis Alberto Lopez next, his promoter Eddie Hearn has made it clear that City Grounds is his next target, which is Warrington code will be his opponent.
Warrington hasn’t fought since his loss to Luis Alberto Lopez at Leeds in December, but that’s unlikely to matter. Wood fans will jump at the chance to see him fight Warrington next, and it doesn’t matter that Josh loses to Lopez. They want to see these two fighting.
Interestingly, Wood talks about retiring after two more fights, which seems crazy because he is still fighting at a very high level without showing any signs of deterioration. Granted, he’s probably not on the level of Luis Lopez or Robeisy Ramirez at 126, but these guys have exceptional talents and no one can beat you right now.
“Give me City Ground,” said Leigh Wood Match boxingmoments after beating Mauricio Lara to win the vacant WBA Featherweight title on Saturday night in Manchester.
“I didn’t lose no matter what. I didn’t lose that night. Mauricio Lara is a great player but I have a great team. I know what to do. Ben (Davison) guided me well. The shot I knocked him down with, we worked on it again and again and it worked.
“That’s what I’m here for. I’m here for the hard fights. I can get beat but guess what? I’m coming back and I’m beating him. I only have two fights left. One is City Grounds (against Josh Warrington) and the other is unification (against the IBF champ featherweight to Luis Alberto Lopez), said Wood.