Leigh Wood scheduled to defend his belt against Josh Warrington in all-British blockbuster
Leigh Wood will defend his WBA featherweight belt against Josh Warrington in a huge domestic clash on neutral ground at the Utilita Arena Sheffield on Saturday October 7th, shown live worldwide on DAZN.
Nottingham’s Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) scored a 12-round win against Mexico’s hard-hitting Mauricio Lara to reclaim his WBA 126lbs crown last time out in May at Manchester’s AO Arena to become Britain’s latest two-time world titlist.
‘Leigh-thal’ lost his title after being stopped in the seventh round by knockout artist ‘Bronco’ at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham earlier this year, but the 34-year-old Gedling warrior showed his courage by evoking an immediate rematch.
Lara had no answer to Wood’s superior skillset on the night, with the Ben Davison-trained fighter executing a brilliant disciplined display that saw him collect a landslide points win with scores in his favour of 118-109 x 2 and 116-111.
Leeds hero Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs) is aiming to become a three-time featherweight titlist after surrendering his IBF belt to Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez following a close points loss at the First Direct Arena last December – his first defeat in his home city.
‘The Leeds Warrior’ regained the IBF strap when he stopped Kiko Martinez in his Leeds fortress in March 2022, flooring the Spaniard in the opening round before ending matters in the seventh round to punctuate a blistering performance in front of his adoring fans.
The former two-time IBF king, who has been out of action since his loss to Lopez, is eager to return to the top of the division and knows that a win over his British rival will put him in pole position for a unification rematch with Lopez – who recently KO’d Michael Conlan in five rounds.
“I’m extremely excited for October 7,” said Wood. “In terms of the followings we’ve got, the football clubs and the cities, this is arguably the biggest British rivalry in the sport. For me, it doesn’t really get any bigger. Our styles will gel and that should make for a very exciting and entertaining fight. It should go down in British history.
“Josh has some great wins on his record and is obviously a two-time (champ), but this is a fight that he cannot lose. He’s never really been in a boring fight – but neither have I. This fight will be all-action and the fans should be in for a great night.
“I know it will be quite hostile with both sets of fans battling it out vocally, but it should make for a great night. This is one that I need to win, so I can look back on with pride and soak up all the good memories. This is a must-win, for sure.”
“This is a big fight,” said Warrington. “It doesn’t get much better than a domestic dust up for a World Title! I’m obsessed in becoming a three-weight world champion, to get back on top and that is going to show on the night. I will bring an army of fans to Sheffield and the atmosphere will be special. Leigh has had a good run and put some good wins together but I just don’t believe he can live with me. I hope he thinks my best days are behind me, on October 7 he’ll find out.”
A press release by Matchroom was used in this article.