Last night’s fight between bitter featherweight rivals Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan massively delivered, and then some. Wood, who was making the first defence of his WBA featherweight belt, somehow won the war, this after being knocked down, hurt on multiple occasions and having to show the kind of heart and raw courage only the special ones possess.
It was epic stuff, with Wood being put down heavily in the opening session in a rocking Nottingham Arena, and the defending champ than having to suck it up as his unbeaten challenger looked to take him out. Wood, behind on points, gave us a genuinely mesmerising comeback as he decked Conlan in the 11th. And then, in the final round of what had already been a great fight, Wood knocked Conlan clean out of the ring for one of the scariest KO’s you will see.
It took some time before Conlan was taken from the arena, directly to the hospital. Fans feared the worst but thankfully, this morning, Conlan has let us know he is okay – and he is already calling for a rematch! Both men gave their all last night and as a result we got a sure-fire Fight of the Year candidate. We are only in the month of March, but it’s hard to see many fights topping last night’s instant classic, if any.
Wood is now 26-2(16), while Conlan falls to 16-1(8). Both men deserve to be celebrated and given the star treatment after the great battle they gave their sport.
Both men were cut in the fight, both times due to an accidental head clash, both men were pumped up in an enormous way, largely due to the 10,000 strong crowd, and both champion and challenger laid it all on the line. Eddie Hearn has gone as far as saying last night’s slugfest is the best fight he’s ever seen live, while some people have been sufficiently moved to suggest Wood KO12 Conlan just might have to be recognised as one of the best fights ever to have taken place inside a British ring.
The fight had it all: bravery, skill, fierce trading, knockdowns, blood, an almost illogical comeback (Wood was not only decked heavily in that torrid opening round, his head also crashed against the canvas as he fell) and then a stunning/disturbing knockout.
Let’s all hope Conlan suffers no ill effects after last night’s loss and his fall from the ring in particular. And let’s see what Wood, who now has to be looked at as one of the most exciting fighters in the UK, does next.
Congratulations, and sincere thanks, go out to both warriors. This one was super-special.