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Finally! Champion Leigh Wood and Challenger Mauricio Lara to Clash in February

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  • Finally! Champion Leigh Wood and Challenger Mauricio Lara to Clash in February

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    By J.J. Alvarez

    After five months of waiting, Englishman Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) and Mexican Mauricio Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs) will finally collide for the WBA featherweight belt in a fight scheduled for February 18th at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England.

    The duel was initially set for September 24th at the same facility, but just ten days before the confrontation, it was reported that the Brit had suffered an injury to his right arm during a sparring session which forced him to postpone the match.

    “We’re gutted to lose such an explosive headliner in Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara so close to fight week,” said promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. “But unfortunately, Leigh suffered a torn bicep during sparring and there’s no way he can get in the ring against such a dangerous opponent with only one arm.”

    Lara was disheartened about the canceled fight. “Mentally, it’s a blow that we know how to assimilate,” stated Lara. “But emotionally it is hard. (The cancellation) just 10 days before the fight is something that hurts. We completed three months of work. But those are things that happen in boxing.”

    “I didn’t see anything, he didn’t post anything on social media”, Lara pointed out. “Like when I fought with Warrington, when he posted that he was in the hospital. I trust in (Wood’s) honesty. We will see what happens. I trust in his honesty, and I wish him a quick recovery. I hope the fight is still in place. I hope he has the courage of a champion, the determination to prove himself. And we will know then if the injury was real or it was a lie”.

    Lara took a different path and faced Colombian José "El General" Sanmartín (34-6-1, 21 KOs), whom he knocked out in the third round on October 22nd of last year in the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City.

    Matchroom Boxing recently reported that the agreement had been finalized for the fight on February 18th in England. Almost immediately after the new date for the brawl was announced, thirty-four-year-old Wood lashed out at Lara.

    “Mauricio Lara has made things personal between us with the disrespect he showed me regarding my injury and my country,” said Wood. “I’m going to show him what I’m all about. See you on February 18 Nottingham!”

    Wood’s most recent fight was in March of last year (also at Nottingham Arena), where he defended his WBA 126-pound belt for the first time. He anesthetized Irishman Michael Conlan (18-1, 9 KOs) in the farewell round.

    The bout turned into a war from start to finish and was among the candidates for Best Fight of the Year. In the matchup, Wood was awarded a protective count in the first round and Conlan in the 11th. In the final round, the Irishman fell out of the ring as a result of a blow, at which point referee Steve Gray called the fight with just over a minute to go.

    “I have been waiting for this opportunity for 2 years and I am not going to waste it,” said Lara. “In February 2021 I beat Warrington in England, now in 2023 I will do the same with Wood.

    In February 2021, Lara rose to fame when he knocked out former IBF world champion Josh Warrington in the ninth round.

    Then the rematch in September ended prematurely, when Lara suffered a cut over his left eye in the second round, the result of an accidental head butt. At the doctor's suggestion, referee Steve Gray called off the fight.

    “The WBA 126-pound world title goes to Mexico, that I promised to my daughter, my family, my team and to my whole country. Your time has come Leigh Wood, no ‘injury’ can save you now from this,” said Lara.

    Article submitted by Jorge Juan Alvarez in Spanish.

    Please note any adjustments made were for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.

  • #2
    Now I am ready for the fight bring it to - it will be a good one just make no one starts leading with their head at any time don't want no stoppage on cuts accidental or other wise.