Josh Warrington says he thinks he can knockout WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood this Saturday night when the two fighters meet at the 12 round headliner at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England.
Warrington (31-2-1,8 KOs) isn’t known for his power, but he did knock out Kiko Martinez last year to capture the IBF 126-lb title. If Warrington can KO Martinez, he should have enough power to stop the 35-year-old Wood (27-3-1,16 KOs), who doesn’t have the best mandible.
Given that Michael Conlan was about to hurt Wood, you can’t rule out a knockout win for Warrington, especially if he roughs him up.
Wood recently recaptured his WBA title, beating Mauricio Lara by a 12-round unanimous decision last May in their rematch. In their first fight last February, Lara knocked out Wood in the seventh round.
In a clever move by Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, he quickly set up a rematch after just three months, taking advantage of Lara having been living it up, celebrating his victory, and gaining weight. Lara was stripped of his WBA for coming in heavy at the pre-weigh-in weight check and wasn’t allowed to try make weight.
Ade Oladipo: “Do you expect, Leigh, or do you predict a knockout in this one?”
Leigh Wood: “Yeah, I’ve been ringside for his last two fights. I don’t believe the people who he’s been hurt by hit as hard as me, and at the same time are as calculated as me,” said Wood to DAZN Boxing about challenger Josh Warrington ahead of their fight this Saturday night.
“So they might land a few shots, but are the good finishers? Have they got good setups? I don’t think they have. I think [Mauricio] Lara is a big puncher. He’s not calculated. He doesn’t know what to do.
“He’s not a great finisher in the sense that he gets one hurt and knows what he needs to do to set up. He rushes sometimes, but I believe I’m one of the biggest punchers in the division. Not only that. I can set up, and I’m calculated.”
Ade Oladipo: “You’ve been in with massive punchers, Josh, really big punchers. Do you think you can knock him out?”
Josh Warrington: “Yeah, 100%. I don’t have as many knockouts on my record as what Leigh has, but then again, most of my knockouts have come at the championship level.
“They’ve come with fights where they’ve mattered. Not against someone who’s had 75 losses and three wins that were coming for a payday to survive. I can stop Leigh. The last few fights he’s had, he’s been put on his backside, and why can’t I do that?
Ade: “Although Leigh is the champion in this one, do you think you’re a level above?”
Warrington: “Yeah, I do believe so. You look at Leigh’s recent run of form. Can Xu, the monster. He turned out to be a monster. Conlan, he had a life & fight with him. A brilliant fight and kudos to Leigh. He showed the heart of a lion to keep on going to battle to win.
“Lara, he got put on his backside and then stopped. In my run of form, it was 30 fights unbeaten.”