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Mauricio Lara vs. Leigh Wood rematch set for May 27 in Manchester

Mauricio Lara - Photo by Dave Thompson
Fighters Network

Leigh Wood will attempt to avenge his last defeat, while Mauricio Lara looks to prove his knockout win over Wood was no fluke.

Lara will attempt to make the first successful defense of his WBA world featherweight title on May 27, facing Wood at the AO Arena in Manchester, England, Matchroom Boxing chairman Eddie Hearn announced Saturday night. The fight will stream live on DAZN.

The announcement came prior to the main event bout between Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London. Both Lara and Wood were present, climbing into the ring for the traditional face-off after Hearn made the announcement.

The Lara-Wood fight will be a clash between featherweights ranked in the top 10 by The Ring. Lara and Wood are ranked No. 1 and 6, respectively. 

Lara (26-2-1, 19 knockouts), who resides in Mexico City, won the WBA title on February 18 in Wood’s hometown of Nottingham, England. Wood was winning the fight when he was caught flush by a left hook to the head that dropped him flat on his back. Wood beat the count, but trainer Ben Davison threw in the towel, prompting referee Michael Alexander to stop the fight. 

At the time of the stoppage, Wood was up 58-56, 58-56, and 59-55 on the judges’ scorecards.

The 25-year-old has not lost since a first round knockout at the hands of Eliot Chavez in May 2018. Since then, Lara has defeated three unbeaten fighters, including Josh Warrington in February 2021. They would fight in a rematch less than seven months later, but the fight would end in a technical draw in the second round after Lara suffered a cut over his left eye from an accidental clash of heads that prompted the fight to be stopped on the advice of the ringside physician. 

Since the Warrington draw and the win over Wood on February 18, Lara earned knockout wins over Emilio Sanchez and Jose Sanmartin. 

Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) became the WBA world titleholder in December after Leo Santa Cruz vacated the title. Wood, who was the secondary world titleholder after his win over Can Xu in July 2021, was elevated to full titleholder by the WBA. On March 12 of last year, Wood overcame a knockdown to win by knockout over Michael Conlan in a thrilling back-and-forth fight. The Wood-Conlan clash was named The Ring Magazine ‘Fight of the Year’ for 2022. 

Prior to the loss to Lara, Wood had won his previous three fights. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]