Wood vs. Lara – Tonight’s Live Results From Nottingham

By Boxing News - 02/18/2023 - Comments

By Mark Eisner: Mauricio Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) scored a miracle seventh round TKO win over WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) on Saturday night at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England. The time of the stoppage was at 2:54 of the seventh.

Wood’s trainer Ben Davison surprisingly threw in the towel after he’d been dropped by a left hook from Lara in the seventh round. Wood had been hurt earlier in the fight in the second, and cut from a clash of heads over his left eye.

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It’s understandable why Davison threw in the towel because Wood’s legs were gone, and he likely would have been poleaxed by Lara had the fight been allowed to continue.

Undercard results.

  • British light welterweight champion Dalton Smith (14-0, 10 KOs) put in a dull performance beating a badly overmatched Billy Allington (10-2-4) by a 12 round unanimous decision. Smith dropped the light hitting Allington with a left hook in the eighth round. In the tenth, a frustrated Smith got away with body slamming Allington without being penalized. In the same round, Smith suffered a cut over his left eye. Allington went into the survival mode in the 11th and 12th rounds, moving frequently and rarely standing still. The scores were 120-107, 119-108, and 119-108. Overall, not an impressive performance by Smith, who was too cautious and didn’t resemble a world class fighter.

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    • The lanky 6’2″ undefeated Irish lightweight southpaw Gary Cully (16-0, 10 KOs) blasted out the light-hitting Wilfredo Flores (10-1-1, 5 KOs) by a second round knockout to capture the vacant WBA Intercontinental title. Using his powerful left hand, the 27-year-old Cully dropped Flores two times in the second round. The referee had to step in and halt the contest to save Flores. The time of the stoppage was 1:52 of the second. In the first round, Flores was cut over his right eye from a hard shot from Cully. After the fight, promoter Eddie Hearn said he wants Cully to step it up. If Hearn wants to step him up against quality opposition, good options for Cully would be Edwin De Los Santos, Jeremiah Nakathilia, Isaac Cruz, Keyshawn Davis, or Frank Martin. Those would be sink-or-swim type fights for Cully, but he’s getting up there in age at 27 and can’t hang around at the domestic level as he nears his 30Ω

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  • Undefeated cruiserweight prospect Cheavon Clarke (5-0, 4 KOs) dominated journeyman Israel Duffus (20-9, 17 KOs), winning a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision. The 32-year-old Jamaican-born Clarke knocked the Panamanian Duffus four times in the contest, twice in the sixth, once in the seventh, and a final time in the tenth. With the last punch Clarke threw in the fight, he dropped Duffus in the tenth. The scores were 98-88, 98-88, and 98-90. On the negative side, Clarke took frequent brakes, looked tired, and was easy to hit all night. If Duffus had let his hands go more, he would have been competitive. Clarke is going to need to make tremendous improvements for him to compete with elite-level cruiserweights like Lawrence Okolie and Richard Riakporhe. At this point, Clarke looks more like a domestic-level fighter than a potential world champion or top contender.

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  • In a surprising outcome, the powerful Argentinian super bantamweight Diego Ruiz (24-6-1, 12 KOs) may have finished the career of the 31-year-old former amateur star Gamal Yafai (19-3, 11 KOs), beating him by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision in a fight that was never competitive. The 28-year-old Ruiz dropped Yafai three times in the contest in the second, third, and tenth rounds. The scores were 98-89, 97-90, and 97-91.  Ruiz took full advantage of Yafai’s aggressive style, countering him all night with powerful right hands and left hooks, which he was continually caught with. Going into the fight, Yafai was considered the favorite, as Ruiz was brought in a confidence-builder type of opponent. Ruiz had lost his two previous fights, and his career had been nothing special. Of course, when you’re fighting someone struggling as severely as Yafai, it’s not surprising that Ruiz looked like a world-beater tonight. Yafai might need to consider hanging up his gloves because when you’re getting by fighters at this level, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to retire.

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Preview: Hearn – Leigh Wood could school him

“I thought they both actually looked good. I thought Lara didn’t look that tight, and normally he really does. You could see that he was fired up, but he was calm,”  said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social about how Mauricio Lara looked at the weigh-in on Friday during the face-off with Leigh Wood in Nottingham, England.

“Leigh Wood was super calm, super chilled, and looked in tremendous shape. Leigh Wood could school him in there. He could school him and stop him, and Mauricio Lara could win this fight in the first round, like literally.

“Both guys have the power to end this fight at any time. It’s going to be an electric pace and an unbelievable atmosphere, and don’t miss it.

Wood’s coach minimizes Lara’s talent

“Michael Conlan is a hell of a lot better boxer than Mauricio Lara,” said Leigh Wood’s trainer Ben Davison to iFL TV. “You can go back to the press conference and the build-up to the fight; I said Michael Conaln is a better puncher than you give him credit for.

“He may not be as big a puncher as Mauricio Lara, but his IQ, and he sets his work up very well, is extremely versatile, and has a good coach that is going to pick out certain things. I think with Mauricio Lara; it’s what you see is what you get.

“Lara got hurt by Emilio Sanchez. Nobody is talking about that,” Davison continued. “A super bantamweight that isn’t a big puncher, and he [Lara] got hurt to the head and the body. He got stopped in a round by Eliot Sanchez [in 2018], but people are pointing out that Leigh Wood got dropped by a world class fighter in Mick Conlan.”

Wood has experience

“They’re not talking about the resilience that showed up for that and their experiences and things like that,” Davison said about Wood. “It’s completely different. Mick Conlan is an intelligent guy and hard to prepare for. He’s very versatile. You have to prepare for three or four different types of fighters or attributes or styles.

“But again, Mick Conlan and Josh Warrington are the two fights that are Leigh’s tickets to the City Ground [in Nottingham, where Wood can make a lot of money]. It didn’t make sense for us to risk not having that or wasting those opportunities for a fight that wasn’t available. That’s why it had to be at the [Motorpoint] Arena [against Mauricio Lara rather than Wood’s desired opponent, Josh Warrington].

“Leigh is still getting paid a lot of money for this fight. Yeah, a hell of a lot more,” Davison said when asked if Wood is getting paid more for the Lara fight than what he would have gotten against 36-year-old Kiko Martinez, who has lost two out of his last four fights and was knocked out by Warrington in 2022.

“I guarantee, talking about Mauricio Lara’s power, I’m not saying he’s not a big puncher and a dangerous fighter, but I guarantee that Josh Warrington is a big puncher. Just as dangerous as Kiko. You saw that with Kid Galahad.

“We didn’t get the chance to see how the Lara fight against Warrington would play out [in the rematch in September 2021 in Leeds because Josh repeatedly head-butted Mauricio until he was badly cut, resulting in the fight being halted],” said Davison.

Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) has got a real fight on his hands tonight, live on DAZN, against knockout artist Mauricio Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs), and it’s going to take an exceptional performance for him to hold onto his WBA featherweight title at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England—the event beings at 2:00 p.m. ET.