What Next For Leigh Wood?

05/29/2023 - By James Slater - Comments

Unification Fight With Lopez, Mandatory Defence Against Kholmatov, Or Domestic Showdown With Warrington?

Leigh Wood was as good as his word on Saturday night, getting revenge or, “putting it right” against Mexican danger man Mauricio Lara (albeit a weight drained, he failed to make weight and was stripped of the title version of Lara, this absolutely no fault of Wood’s) as he said he would. As fans know, Wood was violently stopped in the seventh round by Lara in January, and plenty of people felt Wood was making a mistake by going back in with Lara just three months after losing to him.

But Wood is now a two-time WBA featherweight champion – and he has some big fights in his immediate future. At age 34, Wood may not have too long left in the sport, so it’s natural the Nottingham man wants to make the most of his remaining career. It’s already been suggested that Wood could face domestic rival, former champ Josh Warrington, and this would be a huge night for British boxing.

There is also the possibility that Wood will have to take care of his mandatory challenger, this being the 11-0(10) Otabek Kholmatov. While a third possibility for Wood’s next fight is a two-belt unification clash with IBF champ Luis Alberto Lopez. Which of these three fights will appeal most to Wood? Which of these three fights appeals most to YOU?

Lopez, who defeated Warrington to claim the IBF belt, and retained it this past Saturday with a chilling KO of Michael Conlan, wants Wood next. Or at least Lopez’s manager wants the Wood fight, as he explained when speaking with Fighting Mirror immediately after Lopez and Wood had both emerged victorious on what was a ludicrously busy Saturday night of boxing in the UK.

“Please go and tell him that he is next,” Kiki Magana, Lopez’s manager said in reference to Wood fighting his guy next. “We’re about to call Eddie Hearn and tell him, ‘If the money’s right we’ll come to London, and we’ll fight Leigh Wood.’ It would be a full house.”

The featherweight division is buzzing right now, and Wood, Lopez, and Warrington are smack, bang in the middle of the action. A Wood-Warrington fight would likely be all-action, with a ton of punches thrown from both sides, while Wood against Lopez would be a tough fight for both men.

Wood, 27-3(16) showed on Saturday what a fine boxer he is, while Lopez, 28-2(16) showed us all how dangerous and hard-hitting he is. And Warrington, 31-2-1(8) has sent many a fan home with his exciting style and approach.

Whether it’s Wood-Lopez, or Wood-Warrington next, or maybe Wood-Kholmatov, the fans will be guaranteed a good night.

For now, Leigh Wood deserves all the credit in the world for avenging his heavy loss to Lara. How long will Wood’s second reign as WBA champion last?