Leigh Wood defeats Michael Conlan, calls out Santa Cruz!

03/12/2022 - By Will Arons - Comments

Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) was glad at hearing the news that Michael Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs) is alert and responsive at the hospital following his come from behind 12th round knockout victory over the Irish fighter last Saturday night at the Nottingham Arena in Nottingham, England.

Wood, 33, had to literally walk through fire to retain his WBA featherweight title with a stoppage in the 12th round against the two-time Olympian Conlan, who beaten the living daylights out of him through eleven rounds.

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What won Wood the fight was Conlan getting cocky in the championship rounds, fighting with his back against the ropes, using his head & upper body movement to dodge his machinegun-like shots.

Eventually, Conlan’s habit of fighting on the ropes caught up to him in the 12th round when Wood caught up with a big shot that stunned him. Once Wood had Conlan hurt, he unloaded a blizzard of shots that sent him through the ropes back-first.

The referee Steve Gray was Johnny-on-the-spot and after taking one quick glance at Conlan’s condition outside of the ring, he waved the contest off.

After the fight, Wood said that he’d be interested in fighting the WBA ‘Super World’ featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz so that he can clear up the mess of there being two champions with the World Boxing Association at 126.

Wood was amused that Santa Cruz had picked Conlan to win the fight tonight going into the match.

“Yeah, 100%, that’s all I can think about since the end with those last few shots,” said Leigh Wood to iFL TV in reacting to being told that Michal Conlan is responsive and okay at the hospital.

“Honestly, I can’t remember,” said Wood when asked about being dropped in the first by Conlan. “At the end of the fight, I knew I got put down and I thought in my head, ‘Just a quick dropped and got up thing.’ Barry said to me, ‘Your head bounced off the canvas.’

“I thought, ‘Did it? I thought it was just a flash knockdown.’ I got to watch it back. It was a good fight for TV. Buzzing to get the result. I sacrificed a lot to get here, especially in this camp,” said Wood.

Conlan knocked Wood down hard in the first round with a hard left hand that bowled him over like a bowling pin. Wood was so hurt that fell straight back without bracing his fall.

After he hit the deck, he lay there for several moments before showing signs of being alert. To be sure, that was a scary knockdown, and Wood showed a lot of toughness getting up from it and carrying on.

“100%,” said Wood when asked if this was the same Conlan he expected.

“I said at the presser that when I won that belt, I was prepared to walk through the fire, so I knew he would be tonight. If he did this, I did a little bit more because I knew what he was prepared to do.

“It wasn’t the knockdown. It was two or three seconds before that. I caught him and he was a bit out on his feet.

“In the tenth round, I was tucking up and he was opening up a little bit. When I went a tight guard, he was opening up a little bit and I saw a lot of gaps.

“Then in the 11th when I tucked up, I caught him in the gaps. In the 12th, he carried on doing it and I seen more gaps and that’s how I got him in the end.

“I hope so,” said Wood when told that promoter Eddie Hearn said that he’ll be fighting at the City Grounds next in Nottingham. “I’d like to sort this belt situation because I get a lot of stick for it.

“Yeah, Leo Santa Cruz picked Conlan to win. Bring him over here because he’s going to underestimate me again. Everyone keeps underestimating me.

“It’s brilliant. I said it before the fight. I just keep going under the radar and getting underestimated, and I’ll just keep winning. I don’t go out to knock them out. Let’s keep my voice down because I’m under the radar at the minute. Let’s keep it that way,” said Wood.