Mauricio Lara looks forward to waging war with Leigh Woods
Big-punching featherweight contender Mauricio Lara will return to England in pursuit of Leigh Wood’s WBA title at the Nottingham Arena, Nottingham on Saturday.
Lara, The Ring’s No. 4-rated featherweight, has had to wait patiently since upsetting then unbeaten Josh Warrington on British shores in 2021.
“I feel very happy that I was granted with this opportunity,” Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs) told The Ring through Alejandro Brito of Bxstrs Promotions. “I deserve this, since a long time ago but like I have said before, God’s timing is perfect. All we have to do is enjoy the moment and to win what I have long desired, since I was a little kid.”
The 24-year-old Mexican expects the fight to be a fan-friendly shootout.
“We are very good fighters and it will be a war,” said Lara. “He is a great champion and he will have to prove why he is one on February 18th.
“My team are the ones responsible for [analyzing Wood], to see every bad situation he has ever had and to [help me] take advantage of that moment to win.”
Although Lara will be entering something of a bear pit atmosphere in Nottingham, where a heavily pro-Wood crowd awaits, he says he won’t be intimidated.
“At the end of the day, it is just me and him in the ring,” he said. “The pressure is for him, not me. I [will] just enjoy the moment.”
Lara, who has trained in Mexico City for three months, was understandably disappointed when their initial fight on September 24 feel through after Wood injured his shoulder.
Instead “Bronco” was able to stay active stopping the usually durable Jose Sanmartin in three rounds last October.
“I have a great team behind me who helped me turn a bad situation into a good one,” he said. “But now the time has come, it’s late, but it has come, and we have to go after what I want and desire.”
Brito, who also works with featherweight contender Emanuel Navarrete among others, hopes to add another world champion to his stable.
“We are motivated by this opportunity that Lara has been denied for so long,” said Brito. “We know his potential and we are sure the WBA 126-pound title will return to Mexico.
“Personally, I am very proud of what Bronco has achieved. All that’s missing is the belt.”
Lara is a very dangerous proposition for Wood, who should be lauded for taking such a risky fight. Lara swings for the fences and while he could land something significant, he could put himself in harm’s way and get countered by the defending champion. It figures to be an exciting shootout between two of the biggest punching featherweights in the world, with whoever lands first winning.
Wood (26-2, 16 KOs), The Ring’s No. 6-rated featherweight, had been a 10-year pro when he claimed the vacant British title at the expense of Reece Mould (TKO 9). That triumph vaulted him into a fight with Chinese punching machine Xu Can, who Wood shockingly upset by final-round stoppage.
The 34-year-old proved that was no fluke by getting off the canvas early to roar back and stop Michael Conlan (TKO 12) while trailing on all three scorecards. That fight was later named The Ring’s 2022 Fight of The Year and Knockout of The Year.
Wood-Lara, plus a supporting undercard, will be broadcast on DAZN at 2:00 ET/ 11:00 PT and 7 pm. GMT
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on