Leigh Wood will defend his WBA(regular) Featherweight World Title against Mauricio Lara at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Saturday September 24(DAZN)
Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) memorably stopped Michael Conlan in the 12th and final round of his epic first defense of the WBA 126-pound title back in March, knocking the Irishman out of the ring in brutal fashion to end their Fight of the Year battle.
‘Leigh-thal’ was heavily dropped in the opening round and looked to be heading towards his third loss in the pros before brilliantly fighting back to earn a stunning win that will be talked about for many years to come.
After a fight with WBA ‘Super’ Champion Leo Santa Cruz failed to transpire, in an incredibly gutsy move, Wood has chosen to prove himself against one of the most feared knockout artists in world boxing.
Lara (24-2-1, 17 KOs) floored and ruthlessly finished Josh Warrington in a sensational upset behind closed doors at The SSE Arena, Wembley in February 2021, ending the IBF Featherweight World Champion’s unbeaten record.
‘Bronco’ rematched Warrington in front of a sold-out Headingley Stadium in Leeds seven months later, but a nasty cut over the left eye of the Mexican in round two caused by an accidental clash of heads resulted in the contest ending in a technical draw.
The power-punching 24-year-old blitzed Emilio Sanchez in three rounds earlier this year on the undercard of Roman Gonzalez vs. Julio Cesar Martinez in another destructive show of brute force to put the 126-pound division on notice.
Rossington’s IBO Lightweight title holder Maxi Hughes (25-5-2, 5 KOs) aims to continue his incredible run of form when he takes on Sheffield’s former IBF Featherweight World Champion Kid Galahad (28-2, 17 KOs) in a Yorkshire derby.
‘Maximus’, who is undefeated since November 2019, landed the IBO crown with a shutout points win over dangerous Mexican Jovanni Straffon in September last year before making a successful first defense against Ryan Walsh in March.
Galahad will be looking to return to winning ways up at Lightweight after suffering a shock knockout loss to Spanish veteran Kiko Martinez in what was supposed to be a routine maiden defense of his IBF title at the Sheffield Arena in November 2021.
Denaby Main’s Terri Harper (12-1-1, 6 KOs) leaps up in weight to challenge Scotland’s Hannah Rankin (12-5, 3 KOs) for her IBO and WBA Super-Welterweight World Titles in an intriguing England vs. Scotland clash.
Former IBO and WBC Super-Featherweight World Champion Harper lost her titles at the hands of the USA’s Alycia Baumgardner on the undercard of Galahad vs. Martinez last year before landing the WBA Intercontinental Lightweight Title against Yamila Belen Abellaneda in March.
Rankin captured gold by decisioning Maria Lindberg over 10 rounds at the Tottenham Hotspur FC Banqueting Hall in November 2021 before defending her belts against Mexico’s Alejandra Ayala at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow in May.
“I maybe have a handful of fights left and I want them to be my biggest,” said Wood. “I want to be tested. I’m filling arenas now and I want to keep that momentum going. Every fight should be a step forward, not backwards. Mauricio Lara is dangerous but high risk high reward, I’m confident I can do what Josh Warrington couldn’t do and get the job done.”
“I’m very excited,” said Lara. “This is the opportunity that I have worked so hard for and I am not going to miss it. I am aware that Leigh Wood is a great fighter, but no one is going to take away the possibility of me becoming a World Champion. I’m going to England for the third time and it’s like I’m fighting at home.”