Leigh Wood’s dreams of all-Brit world title clash vs Warrington in tatters after he’s brutally KO’d by Mauricio Lara
LEIGH WOOD’S featherweight world title defence – billed as ‘Dance with the Devil’ – was ended by a left hook from hell.
The 34-year-old Nottingham man was streets ahead on the cards against the Mexican 24-year-old Mauricio Lara, after six rounds.
But his short reign as a 9st king came crashing to a dead end when the little Devil – draped in red – scorched him in seven.
For six rounds Wood was fighting like an angel and close to setting up a summer showdown with Leeds legend Josh Warrington at the City Ground.
Then Lara – who refuelled at Friday’s weigh-in with a giant pizza and bottle of Coke – sliced his dreams apart with a sensational punch.
Both dangerous power punchers prodded out jabs in the the opener, then Lara skimmed Wood’s curls with the same left hooks that savaged Warrington back in 2021.
The Gedling icon ended up landing the cleaner shots thanks to his longer levers and deafening crowd.
Wood came for the second with a blob of grease over his left eye trying to clog up a cut.
Lara could see and smell blood but it was the Brit who enjoyed most of the round until a right hook spun the fight on its head.
Wood was wobbled and staggering, he clung on to the steamrollering challenger and then tucked up and survived until the bell.
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Wood dominated the third with precise and powerful punches, left hooks and right hands, that stopped the Bullish South American – nicknamed Bronco – in his tracks.
The Englishman landed flush and scoring blows in the fourth too but it was only his face that was reddening deeper and leaking more blood. Lara’s punches were less frequent but more vicious.
Wood’s 8,000-strong support were on their feet in the fifth when he winded the visitor with a right hook to his left flank. But the action was always on a knife edge.
The champion was magnificent in round six, he stunned Lara with a handful of arrow-like rights and made him miss like a drunken pub brawler. But the freakish little Mexican was still stalking him and showing no serious signs of lasting damage.
But then it all went wrong when a left hook robbed him of his senses.
Wood collapsed onto the floor and as he beat the count trainer Ben Davison wisely threw in the towel.
It was a tragic end by a scary fighter.
After the fight, a heartbroken Wood revealed his intentions for revenge.
He said: “I am a fighter I wanted to keep going but congratulations to Mauricio Lara. I made a mistake and I paid for it.
“I want the rematch, absolutely.”
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