Leigh Wood is confident that he’ll defeat WBA featherweight champion Mauricio Lara in their rematch tonight to become a two-time champion at 126 at the Arena in Manchester, England. Lara vs. Wood will be shown live on DAZN today.
Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) lost his WBA belt just three months ago when he made the mistake of standing his ground in the seventh and throwing a wide hook. Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) threw a left hook of his own at the same time, but his got there first, and he dropped Wood hard.
In hindsight, Wood realizes that he got up too fast because he looked shaky on his feet. His trainer Ben Davison quickly made a mental calculation of Wood’s chances of survival against the murderous puncher Lara and wisely chose to throw in the towel.
Davison said after that he knew that Wood had a rematch clause, and he felt it was better to be safe than sorry.
Wood wants redemption
Leigh Wood: “I have a variety of memories when the fight was stopped. Just complete heartbreak,” said former WBA featherweight champion Wood to DAZN Boxing, remembering the thoughts that flashed through his head when he was stopped in the seventh round by Mauricio Lara last February in Nottingham.
WHAT TIME IS LARA VS. WOOD 2?
- Date : Saturday, May 27
- Time : 7 p.m. GMT / 2 p.m. ET
- The card will stream live on DAZN in over 200 countries across the globe
- Main event ringwalks (approx): 10:00 p.m. GMT / 5:00 p.m. ET
- The fight will take place at the AO Arena in Manchester, England
- The event is set to get underway at 7 p.m. GMT / 2 p.m. ET with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 10:00 p.m. GMT / 5:00 p.m. ET.
“It’s easy to take a defeat if you’re not good enough. You tank it, but everything was going to plan, and I made a little mistake. He didn’t find that shot. He didn’t wait until round seven for that shot. I gave him that shot. I know I can beat him, and I am going to beat him.
“Redemption, revenge, whatever you want to call it, I want my belt back. It was a special night. Everybody got behind me for the fight and the one coming up. In the first round, I appraised him [Lara’s power], and it didn’t feel heavy at all. What it is was fast and sharp.
“The success I was having with a bit of a decision. I started landing more shots and holding my feet, and trying to nail him a little bit more because I could see that he was breathing a little bit. I was already reestablishing a lot of shots before that.
“I basically held my feet to swap shots with him, which was a mistake. I remember getting up. I probably got up a little too fast, and I was thinking, ‘How long have I been out?’ A little switch goes off and comes straight back on. Sometimes for a fraction of a second, because it’s off and on, you don’t know how long you’ve been there.
“So in my head, ‘I’ll get up as fast as I can. He could be on eight or seven.’ So I jumped up. It was complete heartbreak. Any fighter would rather be carried out than stopped by the ref or a towel thrown in, and that’s why you have a cornerman and why you have your team to look out for you.
“With everything we had with the rematch, they made the right call. The approach is slightly different. Without giving too much away, they’re only small adjustments, but they can make a big difference, especially with how he fights.
“I’m more confident going into the second fight than I was the first fight. I know what I need to do. I’m coming for him 100%. I’ve always done things that I needed to do.
“The first time around with Mauricio Lara, I had that rematch clause. This time, I ain’t got that safety net. I need to win this fight. I’ve got a little bit more fire inside of me and a little bit more point to prove.
“I just want to get this done and prove a lot of people wrong. A little reminder to keep pushing. Get it back. The dream is still to headline at the City Ground [in Nottingham]. I still got time. Definitely.
“It’s still going to happen. Win this fight and maybe one in between, and then probably my final fight and make sure it’s here.”
Lara vowing to KO Wood again
Mauricio Lara: He thinks he was winning the fight. Maybe a few rounds, but he thinks I’m an easy opponent and that I was lucky to win. It felt like a bucket of cold water had been thrown over me that my dream had come true.
“They think it was a lucky shot. It wasn’t. I worked hard for it in training camp, and it was a matter of time before it landed.
“On May 27th, I’m going to make it clear that I didn’t win with a lucky shot. It will be hard to take something away from me that I’ve worked hard for since I was eight. I’ve worked hard for this, and nobody is taking it.
“Prepare well because, on May 27, this ends by knockout. I hope they realize that when they say poor people can’t achieve things, well, look.
“A poor kid was able to get out of the neighborhood, was able to overcome a lot of obstacles. It makes me proud to come from my neighborhood to become well-known and successful.
“We’d been looking for that knockout from the start. It didn’t come. Leigh Wood is a good fighter. I’m really excited, believe me. I’m really enjoying this camp. I’ve made a lot of changes, and you’ll see them.
“To be a legend and to keep working hard in boxing. To not just be another champion. I want to make history in boxing to be the first Mexican to unify at 126 pounds.
“They know I put my body on the line. I’m a man that doesn’t give in easily, that goes out to provide food for the family, and that’s how I sum it up now. I’m looking for that plate of food, and that makes me difficult to beat.
“Everyone wants to rip my head off now that I’ve become world champion, but I trained doubly hard to be a world champion. Now, I’ll train three or four times harder.
“Leigh Wood, I hope you’re well. Best wishes to you and your family. I know you want to take my head off on May 27th. You’ll see I’m a solid champion.”
Leigh’s trainer has made adjustments
Ben Davison: “There will be adjustments from us, and there will be adjustments from their side. I think there are a lot of things that we can take from the first fight. I think Leigh was performing well, but there were a few things that needed adjustments as well for us to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again. I’ve watched it a few times [Wood getting dropped by Lara in the seventh].
“Mauricio Lara had a lot more respect for Leigh’s power than we anticipated. He was a lot less reckless than what we had prepared for. I can’t sit here and say that I definitely know the situation. This was going to be the outcome.
“I just wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to defend himself in that moment. It wasn’t a risk that I was ready to take, especially with a rematch clause in the cards. You have to make those decisions in those moments, and that’s the decision I made.
“We have Mauricio’s sombrero, so we can look at it. We were all gutted. I think we have more fuel in the belly than ever before.”
MAURICIO LARA LEIGH WOOD 2 FIGHT CARD
- Mauricio Lara vs. Leigh Wood 2; For Lara’s WBA world featherweight title
- Jack Catterall vs. Darragh Foley
- Terri Harper vs. Ivana Habazin for WBA women’s super-welterweight title
- Danny Ball vs. Jamie Robinson for English welterweight title
- Aqib Fiaz vs. Costin Ion
- Campbell Hatton vs. Michal Bulak