By Mark Eisner: Leigh Wood will attempt to avenge his loss tonight against Mauricio Lara in a twelve round fight for the vacant WBA featherweight title at the AO Arena in Manchester, England. Lara vs. Wood II card will be shown live on DAZN at 2:00 p.m. ET
Boxing News 24 will be giving live updates below of tonight’s action.
- In the chief support bout, light welterweight contender Jack Catterall (27-1, 13 KOs) beat Darragh Foley (22-5-1, 10 KOs) by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 99-88, 98-89, and 97-90. Round seven was odd, with Catterall knocking Foley down but then losing a point when he clobbered him when he got back to his feet. Talk about being overeager. In round nine, Catteral dropped Foley for the second time. The fight for Catterall was his first since losing to former undisputed 140-lb champion Josh Taylor.
- Female WBA super welterweight champion Terri Harper (14-1-1, 6 KOs) defeated challenge Ivana Habazin (21-5, 7 KOs) by a ten round unanimous decision. The scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92.
- Super featherweight Aqib Fiaz (12-0, 1 KOs) edged Costin Ion (10-4-2, 5 KOs) by an eighth round points decision. Ion dropped Fiaz in the sixth round. Referee John Latham scored it 76-75 for the 23-year-old Fiaz.
- Unbeaten light welterweight prospect Campbell Hatton (12-0, 5 KOs) scored a fifth round knockout of Michal Bulik (6-3, 2 KOs). The 22-year-old Campbell, the son of British boxing great Ricky Hatton, staggered Bulik with a hard right hand to the head in the fifth. Referee John Latham then quickly stepped in and halted the contest. The time of the stoppage was at :38 of round five.
- Danny Ball (13-1-1, 6 KOs) wore down and defeated James Robinson (15-6-2 4 KOs) by an eighth round stoppage to capture the vacant English welterweight title. The lanky Ball pummeled the ‘Ginger Rocket’ with hooks to the head and body, outworking him in each round. The fight was halted at the end of the eighth by Robinson’s corner.
Jack Catterall vs. Darragh Foley
Terri Harper vs. Ivana Habazin
Danny Ball vs. Jamie Robinson
Aqib Fiaz vs. Costin Ion
William Crolla vs. Joe Hard
Campbell Hatton vs. Michal Bulik
Aaron Bowen vs. Aljaz Venko
Only the 34-year-old Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) has a chance to win the vacant WBA 126-lb title tonight, as Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) was stripped of his title last Wednesday when he scaled in heavy during a British Boxing Board of Control weight check.
It’s unclear how much Lara weighed during Wednesday’s check-wait, but apparently, it was more than what the BBBofC was comfortable with.
The Board then determined that Lara couldn’t weigh any less than 128.5 lbs for the weigh-in, meaning his title was lost last Wednesday rather than Friday.
This hasn’t played out well with non-British fans, who feel Lara was robbed of his WBA title by not being allowed to make the 126-lb limit.
As such, even if Lara wins tonight, he won’t be able to regain his WBA title. It’ll be interesting to see if Lara is allowed to fight for the WBA title in his next fight or if he’ll be dropped down in the World Boxing Association’s rankings, being treated as if he lost the battle to Wood, even though he won it.
Lara knocked Wood out in the seventh round last February to capture the WBA featherweight title from him in Nottingham. Wood had a rematch clause in the contract for that fight, which he quickly exercised, believing he could beat Lara the second time.
Can Leigh Wood beat Mauricio Lara?
“Contractually, when you win a fight, you don’t have to wait months and months for the rematch. Ninety days was the number. Actually, I think it was ninety-eight days, Mauricio Lara,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN Boxing when asked why Leigh Wood chose to take the rematch with Mauricio Lara so soon after his defeat against him last February.
“For Leigh Wood, there were two conversations to have. The first one is the sane conversation, the sensible conversation with the trainer and management, and then there’s the conversation with the fighter,” Hearn continued.
“Leigh Wood was winning the fight. He’s convinced that he got caught by one shot that changed the fight. ‘I know I can beat him. Get me back in there.’ The fast turnaround will be the conversation with the trainer and management, who says, ‘We’d really like more time.’
“There’s not a trainer in the world that wouldn’t want more time. That towel that came in from [coach] Ben Davison; if Leigh Wood wins on Saturday night, it may be one of the great towels in history because if that fight had continued and he had got flattened, there is absolutely no way he would have made this fight date at all.
“He got caught by one shot. He was out, and I think it was a good stoppage, but I’ve never seen a fighter so confident after being stopped going into a rematch. Leigh Wood is more confident now than he was going into the first fight.
Lara expected to go for early knockout
“Maybe that’s because he’s felt it and experienced it. I think this is going to be a different Mauricio Lara. People talk about Lara starting slow last time. I just think he knows Leigh Wood punches very hard, and I got a feeling this time Lara ain’t going to muck around.
“I don’t think he wants to take this fight deep. I think he was uncomfortable last time. He was outboxed, he was tired, I think he was frustrated. I think he’s going to go, ‘You know what? I’m going to take him out early.’
“If these two start going at it, anything can happen. Leigh Wood could hurt him early. But if Leigh Wood starts trading, this is a problem,’ said Hearn.
“You know what? I’m going revenge,” said Tony Bellew, picking Leigh Wood to defeat Mauricio Lara tonight.