Leigh Wood outpoints Mauricio lara in rematch to become two-time world champion

Mauricio Lara vs Leigh Wood 2

Leigh Wood captured a 12-round unanimous decision over Mauricio Lara last night at the Manchester Arena and reclaimed the WBA featherweight championship.

It was only a few months ago when Wood was stopped by Lara in his home city of Nottingham after dominating the majority of the fight and leading on all three judges scorecards. Lara famously landed a devastating left hook in the 7th round that dropped Wood and prompted his trainer, Ben Davison to throw in the towel.

However, this time Wood produced one of the most disciplined performances of his career by outboxing Lara throughout and winning almost every round. Judges Howard Foster and Victor Simmons scored the bout 118-109 whereas Jose Ignacio Martinez Antunes had it slightly closer at 116-111.

From the opening bell it was clear that Leigh Wood had learned his lesson. ‘Leigh-thal’ used his jab, focused on throwing the right-hand and avoided trading punches with Lara. And in round two, these tactics were rewarded as Wood landed a phenomenal right uppercut that sent Lara crashing down to the canvas.

Lara beat the count and was not overly hurt, but the Mexican was unable to bounce back with any significant power shots of his own. Instead, it was a clash of heads in round three opened up a cut over Wood’s left eye. Nevertheless, the remainder of the bout saw Wood continue to box cautiously and pick his shots, which Lara was unable to thwart.

After missing weight by almost four pounds, Lara had already relinquished the WBA belt. And following controversy on whether the fight should still go ahead, Leigh Wood and his team proved they made the right decision.

Not to mention, Ben Davison, who was heavily criticised by fans in the first encounter between Wood and Lara, displayed how he always had his fighter’s best interests at heart.”

Leigh Wood wants Josh Warrington or Luis Alberto Lopez next

With the WBA strap around his waist again, there are two mega fights that Leigh Wood could entertain before he officially hangs up his gloves.

The first option is Josh Warrington who he has been linked with on numerous occasions. Warrington is coming off a majority decision loss to Luis Alberto Lopez, yet is a former world champion and could prove a lucrative domestic opponent for Wood.

Although the more legacy-defining route is probably against Lopez who knocked out Michael Conlan last night to retain the IBF featherweight championship. Therefore, Wood and Lopez could face each other in a unification contest and the bout could take place at Nottingham Forest FC’s, City Ground.

“I’ve had a fairytale career. I just told Eddie [Hearn], ‘Give me my f****** happy ending. Give me the City Ground,” Wood said in his post fight interview.

“I think Warrington makes sense. But Lopez, unification fight, even bigger. I’ll get my team up onto that. Whoever you know. I’ve probably got two fights left. City Ground is one of them. A unification could be the other. Just give me a big fight.”

And according to Hearn, following such an outstanding performance by Wood, a fight at the City Ground is likely to be next.

“Leigh Wood, proper old school, throwback fighter. Nottingham legend. We have to, City Ground have to, Nottingham Forest have to. We have to make it happen.

“He schooled him tonight. He took his heart away. He beat him up. People will say Lara was flat, he was frustrated. Leigh Wood done an absolute job on him and becomes a two-time world champion tonight in Manchester.”

At the age of 34, Wood is in the twilight stages of his career and a fight at the City Stadium would be the perfect ending. After all, just three years ago, the boxer from Nottingham Forest came up short against James Dickens in York Hall and is now widely considered one of the best featherweights in the world.

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