Last Saturday night, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that Can Xu (18-3, 3 KOs) has a rematch clause in his contract, and he may execute it to force a rematch with Leigh Wood (25-2, 15 KOs).
Wood totally dominated WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion from start to finish, battering him until the referee Marcus McDonnell stepped in at the 2:43 mark of the 12th round to stop the contest at the Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex.
After the fight, Hearn expressed doubt that Xu, 27, would want a rematch with Wood after being beaten. However, on reflection later in the evening, Hearn acknowledged that Xu and his promoters at Golden Boy promotions would likely force the rematch.
Xu has little option but to try and win back his WBA secondary 126 lb title, so fans can expect to see those two in a rematch soon.
Can Xu has a rematch clause
“How good was tonight?” beamed Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing to iFL TV on last Saturday night’s card at Fight Camp.
“I know there have been a few moans about the ticket prices, but it is what it is.
“I was so proud to start off like that with DAZN, and it was just the beginning. It was a great great night and a great atmosphere. We’ll do it again next Saturday.
“He battered him,” said Hearn about Leigh Wood’s 12th round knockout win over WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Can Xu.
“I’ve seen stuff online, ‘Oh, it’s very close.’ I struggled to give Can Xu more than three rounds, but I’m so pleased that he stopped him because what a way to do it,” said Hearn.
The fight was close if you scored it like an amateur bout rather than a professional one. Xu landed a fair amount of shots, but they were all arm punches. The difference was that Wood was punching with a lot of power, and he could force Xu into a shell.
“You’ve got to give props to [trainer] Ben Davis and Lee. He [Wood] changed his life tonight; he really did. 33 years of age,” said Hearn.
“He’s been through the mill and probably thought about packing up the game a long time, and I’m so happy for him. I thought it was a brilliant performance.
“Golden Boy does have a rematch clause,” said Hearn when asked about the possibility of Leigh Wood defending his newly won WBA ‘regular’ featherweight title against Josh Warrington next.
“It was a voluntary defense [for Can Xu],” Hearn continued. “They picked Leigh Wood. I’m not sure Can Xu will want to take it; I don’t know.
“I guess he’s got nowhere else to go, but I can’t see him beating Leigh Wood. Every time he switched to southpaw, Can Xu couldn’t handle it.
“They all say it was the inactivity; I say it was the brilliance of Leigh Wood and his team,” said Hearn.
Jack Cullen outworks Avni Yildirim
“I think we should do a rematch,” said Hearn about wanting to set up a rematch between cruiserweights Tommy McCarthy and Chris Billiam-Smith. “Mark Dunlop messaged me saying, ‘Tommy McCarthy won that.’ I have to be honest.
“I felt that Chris Billiam-Smith won the fight, but it was a really close fight.
“I don’t agree with 116-112, but why not do a rematch. Tommy was a European champion, and Chris was the Commonwealth champion. The British were on the line. It was a really good fight. So we’ll see.”
Unbelievable,” said Hearn about super middleweight Jack Cullen’s win over Avni Yildirim. “He’s always in good fights, and he always sells loads of tickets, so he can do whatever he wants,” said Hearn.
Yildirim (21-4, 12 KOs) was supposed to win this fight, but Cullen (20-2-1, 9 KOs) was too busy for him in pounding out a 10 round unanimous decision
Interestingly, Yildirim was so badly outclassed by Cullen and reflects badly on Canelo Alvarez for fighting this guy last February.
“Now he’s going to want some proper money. He’s a lovely fellow. He’s another guy that rolls the dice, and he beat Avni Yildirim tonight, and he’s going to go into the top 15 in the world rankings.
“So fair play to Jack Cullen, and let’s have some more big fights for him,” said Hearn.
Anthony Fowler destroys Rico Mueller
“It was a good performance, and Rico Mueller was really tough,” said Hearn about junior middleweight contender Anthony Fowler’s eighth-round knockout win over Rico Mueller.
“It’s horrible when you’re talking about a fight, and even yesterday we were finalizing a fight with his team, and inevitably we would have to speak to him as well,” said Hearn.
154-lb contender Fowler (15-1, 12 KOs) was too good for Mueller (28-4-1, 19 KOs) in stopping him in the eighth round. The fight was a decent warm-up to get Fowler ready for his match against former WBO 154-lb champion Liam Smith on October 9th at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
“It was just a case of him getting through tonight. I thought it was a perfect fight for him. He did nine rounds? It was great preparation for Liam Smith, and he knows that. It was such a good fight.
“I mean, there’s not a lot that beats a fight night in Liverpool, is there? That’s a brilliant fight. North end vs. the South end in Liverpool. A little bit of history in there.
“I love it, and it’s going to smash out the Echo, and we’re going to have a great card on October 9th.
“He boxed well, he boxed a guy that was a little bit awkward, but still a lot to learn, but he set them down nicely. I thought it was a good performance,” said Hearn about lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton’s four round points decision win over Jakub Laskowski.
Conor Benn unlikely for August 14th
“I think he feels a little bit unwell, but nothing major. I expect him to come out of that this weekend,” said Hearn about welterweight contender Conor Benn, who had to pull out of Saturday’s fight with Adrian Granados due to coming down ill with COVID-19.
It sounds like the Conor Benn vs. Adrian Granados fight will need to be rescheduled in September. If Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) is unable to spar due to him dealing with isolation, he’s going to be out for a while.
“But he has to isolate; that’s the problem. So he can’t spar, and so it’s very difficult to go on August 14th,” said Hearn on Benn.
“We’ll see, but I think Leeds is the frontrunner, which will be massive for Leeds and the show. Conor would get to fight in front of 20,000, which would also be good, but we’ll see what happens in the next few days.
“We only had one stoppage tonight, and that was in the 12th round of the fight. Next week, I think you’re going to see some brutal knockouts with Nick Webb against Fabio Wardley, a great fight,” said Hearn.
The stoppage that Hearn is talking about was the 12th round knockout by Leigh Wood over WBA champion Can Xu. It was a brilliant knockout win.
Some boxing fans weren’t happy with the fight being halted so quickly by the referee, as they wanted to see if Xu could make it through the round.