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Leigh Wood vs Mauricio Lara: This Fight is Personal!

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  • Leigh Wood vs Mauricio Lara: This Fight is Personal!

    Originally on the books for September 26th at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England, the fight between WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) and Mexican challenger Mauricio Lara (24-2-1, 17 KOs) had to be postponed after Wood suffered a torn right bicep during a sparring session just 10 days prior to the fight.

    After learning about the injury and that the fight was postponed, Lara questioned the validity of Wood’s injury. His words stuck a thorn in the heart of Wood.

    Recently, Matchroom Boxing announced that the confrontation was rescheduled for February 18th in Nottingham where Wood will make his second defense of the WBA featherweight belt he obtained by knocking out Chinese Can “The Monster” Xu (18-4, 3 KOs) in the twelfth round in July 2021.

    Wood was elevated to super champion in December when Mexican Leo "Terremoto" Santa Cruz relinquished the title, and now as the only WBA champion of the featherweight division, he anxiously awaits the opportunity to cross gloves with Lara and to retaliate in the ring for the accusations that Lara made.

    Thirty-four-year-old Wood assured us that “Mauricio Lara has made things personal between us with the disrespect he showed me regarding my injury and my country. I’m going to show him what I’m all about.”

    Wood has three knockout victories in his most recent outings in the ring. In March of last year, he anesthetized, in the final round, Irishman Michael Conlan (17-1, 8 KOs). Wood's victory came to fruition in spectacular fashion. He knocked Conlan down in the eleventh and in the next round, with less than two minutes remaining, the champion landed a right hand that sent his opponent out of the ring. Almost immediately, referee Steve Gray declared a TKO.

    Referring again to the fight with Lara, Wood recently stated: "He [Lara] said I faked my injury and that annoyed me. Why would I fake my injury? I didn't have to fight him; this is a voluntary defense, but I want to test myself and I'm going to show him what I'm all about."

    Wood commented, "Winning fuels me. Lara has a style that suits me. Conlan was all wrong for me stylistically, but styles make fights and I'm confident in my ability. If I approach this fight wrong, it could be brutal. Lara is good and we saw that in the first fight with Josh Warrington, but if I do as I plan, this fight won't reach halfway - I'm going to get Lara out of there."

    Since losing by a first-round knockout to compatriot Eliot Chávez in May 2018, the twenty-four-year-old Lara has gone on a string of 14 wins and just one draw. In his most recent fight, he anesthetized Colombian José Sanmartín in the third round on October 22nd at the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City.

    Lara stated, “I am not going to expect anything, I am going all in for everything from the first round. Wood punches harder than Warrington, but on February 18th we will see who has the biggest punch. We have a plan A and a plan B because we don't want to be surprised. We are well prepared.”

    Lara is definitely taking this fight personally and is ready for war. “I like it when my opponent talks, he will see that it is not good to talk, that it is not good to hallucinate. I speak with my fists up in the ring,” said Lara. “Wood is a great fighter but he is very talkative. Saying these things to me is his worst mistake, he will even need therapy to recover, I will be the worst nightmare of his life.”

    Article submitted by Jorge Juan Álvarez in Spanish.

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