You’ve sure got to hand it to featherweight warrior Leigh Wood. One would perhaps think that, after engaging in arguably the two fiercest, most damaging fights of his entire pro career, Wood would call for an “easy one,” a “confidence builder.” But no, the gutsy fighter from Nottingham is calling for an immediate return fight with Mexican danger man (with a capital “D”) Mauricio Lara. This after Wood was devastatingly stopped by Lara on February 18.
While prior to that fight, Wood went through hell to stop Michael Conlan in 2022’s Fight of the Year. Wood, 26-3(16) told BBC Sport that he wants an immediate rematch with Lara, by the “end of May, in June by the latest.”
“It’s been hard because it still hurts,” Wood said of the 7th round stoppage loss to Lara. “I want an immediate rematch. I’ve told Eddie Hearn that’s what I want. I want it as early as the end of May, in June by the latest.”
Wood was saved from the chance of any further punishment after having been decked heavily by a Lara left hook close to the end of the 7th round, this when his corner threw in the towel. Wood was angry with the towel being chucked in at the time but he has since agreed that his team were simply looking out for him and his longer-term health.
Speaking of longer-term health, is Wood making a big mistake if he does go right into a rematch with Lara, 26-2-1(19) so soon? That really was a heavy knockdown Wood suffered in the fight, and the 34 year old may need more time than a mere three or four months to fully recover. Will the British Boxing Board of Control even allow Wood to fight again so soon after being stopped so brutally?
Again, you have to admire Wood’s guts and courage along with his desire, but sometimes fighters can be too brave for their own good. Former WBA featherweight champ Wood does have that rematch clause at his disposal, but this doesn’t necessarily mean he should activate it. At least not just three or four months after the first fight.