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Eddie Hearn Wants Leigh Wood To Fight Warrington Next


Eddie Hearn says he wants to match Leigh Wood against Josh Warrington next after he regained the WBA featherweight title on Saturday in his rematch with Mauricio Lara at the AO Arena in Manchester.

(Photo credit: Dave Thompson Matchroom Boxing)

Wood’s win over Lara wasn’t pretty to watch due the spoiling that Leigh did all night, but he got the victory. The scores were 118-109, 116-111, and 118-109.

In hindsight, Wood and his team were smart to force the rematch with Lara so quickly after his loss to him last February. Lara clearly celebrated and put on a lot of weight, enjoying his victory. Unfortunately, Lara put too much weight on for him to take off quickly for his rematch in May, leaving the drained shell that we saw lose tonight.

Wood’s WBA mandatory is Otabek Kholmatov (11-0, 10 KOs) That guy has a similar fighting style as Luis Alberto Lopez, but he’s busier and would be a real nightmare for the 34-year-old Wood. Kholmatov is all wrong for Wood and would likely knock him out in two or three rounds.

This guy is the real deal and has world champion written all over him. If Wood were to fight Kholmatov next, he’d get knocked out by him much faster than he did Lara last February.

If the World Boxing Association orders Wood to defend against Kholmatov, he will need to decide whether it’s best for him to vacate because that guy won’t be phased by the tactics Leigh used to defeat the weight-drained Lara tonight.

Hearn will likely try and offer Kholmatov a step aside if the WBA orders that fight so that he can get him out of the way for Wood to fight Warrington in a winnable money fight in Nottingham. Wood wants to fight at the City Ground next, but Hearn isn’t sure whether he can get that venue because of the football team that plays there.

It’s unclear how much interest there would be from fans in seeing Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) fight Warrington, given he’s coming off of a loss to Luis Alberto Lopez last December.

It looks weak on Wood’s part to fight Warrington with him coming off of a loss, but perhaps he’s beyond caring at this stage of his career. After his fight tonight, Wood said he’s hanging up his gloves after two more bouts.

“He’s made some incredibly unorthodox decision. Firstly, even choosing Mauricio Lara in the first place in a voluntary defense,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing, talking about Leigh Wood after his win tonight.

“Obviously, getting beat, and then calling the rematch on him in quick time, and then having to put up with Mauricio Lara coming in nearly a weight division above him and still going ahead with the fight.

“It was such a brilliant performance. I see people on social media saying, ‘Mauricio Lara looked flat.’ He looked flat because he got absolutely schooled. He got beaten up, he got dropped. It was just a textbook performance from Leigh Wood.

“All the things he did in the first fight, but better. That’s why they had so much confidence picking him as an opponent, and you saw that tonight. An unbelievable performance, a two-time world champion.

“When you look at the victories over Can Xu, Michael Conlan, and Lara tonight. You put him up there as a real top quality British champion. He makes history as a two-time world champion tonight.

“It’s difficult. Timing is everything. We couldn’t make it this time around,” said Hearn about Wood wanting to fight at the City Ground in Nottingham next. “The season started. You’d have to do one when they’re away from home.

“It’s down to Nottingham football club. I don’t want to pass the buck, but ultimately if they can make it happen from a logistical point of view, we’d love to do that.

“Otabek Kholmatov is the [WBA] mandatory. I want to try and make the Josh Warrington fight. I think we can do that. I think we can turn that around reasonably quickly,” said Hearn.

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