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Leigh Wood update: “Discussions ongoing” – Frank Smith

Image: Leigh Wood update: "Discussions ongoing" - Frank Smith

By Jack Tiernan: Frank Smith is indicating that Matchroom is going to steer Leigh Wood away from taking the immediate rematch with Mauricio Lara in a move that is “for the good of his career.

With the way that Lara stopped Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) in the seventh round last month on February 18th, it would be foolhardy to steam straight into a rematch against the huge slugger.

If Wood’s punch resistance was affected by his TKO loss, Lara would take full advantage of that because he’s likely to come sprinting out of the starting blocks, looking to test his chin early and often.

Letting Lara fight Josh Warrington next would give Wood, 34, a chance to rest and possibly take a tune-up against a soft puncher. It wouldn’t be a good idea for Wood to fight Michael Conlan next because he already showed that he’d got enough power to worry him.

Someone like Jordan Gill, James Dickens, or Liam Davies would be perfect for Wood to stay busy and use as a confidence booster.

What’s important is for Wood to focus on boxing instead of looking to slug because he can’t afford to trade with Lara in the rematch because he’s already displayed that he can’t handle his power.

Lara not only had Wood hurt in the seventh, but he also staggered him in the second round with a right hand. It’s safe to say that if Lara had continued fighting hard in the third round, he would likely have stopped Wood.

“Discussions are ongoing with Leigh Wood. There are a lot of big fights to be made in that division,” said Frank Smith to Boxing Social. “Josh Warrington is there. Kiko Martinez, then Mauricio Lara. There are a lot of big fights to be made. Michael Conlan as well.

“Leigh Wood wants the rematch [with Lara]. Of course, he wants the opportunity to win his belt back. At the same time, we have to do things for the good of his career. Me, Eddie, and Ben Davison met and talked through the next steps.

“Leigh is pushing hard to do the rematch next. It could be that.  It could be the Josh Warrington fight. The winner of that [Lara vs. Warrington] faces.  There are multiple opportunities there, so hopefully, there’s some news soon on that. It’ll come around quite quickly as well.

“I think it’s not far away to get one of those fights up and running. There are so many variables in there.  We have to work with the fighters with ultimately what they want. Leigh Wood went in there with one of the toughest voluntaries [Lara] that you come ever imagine. That’s something that people just don’t do.

“I made a comment about the fact that he did that, and people are like,  ‘That’s crazy that he’s commending people for taking proper fights.’ That’s the reality. People don’t always want to take tough voluntary fights.

“We look at everything for the benefit of the fighters. People will always give their advice, but they’re the bosses. They’re in charge, and they’ll make the final decisions about their training teams around what they feel is right next.

“Look, there are a lot of exciting fights to be made there, and I think we’ll see them in the next twelve months. You can’t win with a lot of fans. It’s a bit like Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk. Everybody said that he’d vacate because he didn’t want to fight Oleksandr Usyk.

“He fought Oleksandr Usyk, and he lost against one of the best current-day fighters. Then everyone goes, ‘Useless.’ It’s like,  ‘You said he was going to vacate,’ and then he fights him again in a rematch. The mentality is strange.

“Rather than look at all the positives, people will look at the negatives. I think when fighters take tough fights, they should be commended for it, not get social media backlash when it doesn’t go their way,” said Smith.

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