This Saturday, Leigh Wood defends his WBA world featherweight title in his hometown at the Motor Point Arena, Nottingham. Featherweight star, Michael Conlan, is the man hoping to strip him of his belt.
Leigh Wood is a fighter of serious calibre. With 27 bouts to his name, the Brit is not short of experience inside the ring. In 25 of those fights, Wood has seen his hand raised, and 15 times he has won via knockout, earning him the apt nickname, “Leigh-thal”.
In 2019, Wood claimed the vacant Commonwealth title after knocking out Abraham Bonsu in the 2nd round. He showed his grit when defending his belt against Ryan Doyle, again finishing the contest with a knockout in the 10th round.
Following his successful defence of the Commonwealth belt, Wood had an appetite for titles. Standing in his way of lifting the WBO European featherweight title was Mullingar’s, David Joyce. A technical knockout in the 9th round confirmed Wood as a European champion.
Wood didn’t hold the belt for long. A domestic showdown between “Jazza” Dickens and Leigh Wood resulted in the belt being wrapped around the waist of the man from Merseyside.
Back To Winning Ways
After his majority decision loss, Wood needed to get back to his best. He did so by knocking out Reece Mould and gaining the vacant British featherweight title along the way. Having now held Commonwealth, European and British titles, Wood had his sights set on a world title.
The opportunity for “Leigh-thal” to become a world champion arose in July 2021. He had to go toe-to-toe with the man dubbed “Monster”, Xu Can. The odds were stacked against the Brit, but he upset the favourite, a valiant display was rewarded with a TKO finish in the final round of the fight.
Now a world champion, Leigh must mount his first defence against Michael Conlan. The man from Belfast has a glittering amateur career. He achieved a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, gold at the World Amateur Championships, and a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
At the 2016 Olympics, Conlan was on the receiving end of a dubious decision, this spurred the Irish man on to becoming a professional. He now has a perfect record of 16 wins, 0 losses with 8 wins coming by way of knockout.
It took just 10 fights for “Mick” to win the vacant WBO Inter-Continental featherweight title after a unanimous decision against Jason Cunningham. He successfully defended the belt in America, and then in his following fight, defended it again whilst securing the WBA Inter-Continental featherweight title.
Victories against Ionut Balata and compatriot TJ Doheny awarded Conlan the WBO International super-bantamweight title as well as the WBA interim featherweight title. With plenty of amateur medals to his name, and plenty of belts since turning professional, it’s clear Conlan is equipped and ready for a world title shot.
Is Conlan ready for a seasoned boxer in Leigh Wood, though? He has the home advantage and will have bags of confidence after his biggest career win against Xu Can. This one is tough to call, you don’t want to miss this.
The action begins at 7:00pm with a stacked undercard. Terri Harper takes on Yamila Belen Abellaneda, Gary Cully faces Miguel Vazquez and Thomas Carty takes on Michael Boloz. The main event is expected to start at 10:15pm, so be ready.
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JD WOMEN | May 16, 2023