One characteristic of champion Leigh Wood’s career is that he has been able to overcome trials despite many people having doubts. The World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion has worked very hard to get to the position he is in and wants to keep the belt against Mauricio Lara this Saturday.
He is fortunate to be able to defend his championship in his hometown, where he has achieved great things and has made a name for himself on the world stage. A long professional career that began in 2011 has had a hard road that has been traveled thanks to his perseverance and the great work. Patience has been key for Wood, who kept waiting for his big opportunity and fulfilling all the merits until he got it.
A decade after his debut, he got a great opportunity against champion Can Xu in July 2021. Wood did not start as a favorite against an opponent who had proven to be tough but he made one of the most important performances of his career to counteract the volume of blows of the Chinese and finally beat him by technical knockout in the final part of the fight.
Winning the championship gave another meaning to his career and so came the fight against Olympic medalist Michael Conlan, in which he had a tough test. Not only on paper, but Wood went to the canvas early in the fight and appeared to be at a complete disadvantage. But once again, he showed what he is made of and showed his class to deliver the knockout of the year in the final round to retain his championship crown.
Now comes the challenge of Lara, a strong Mexican who already knows what it’s like to fight in the UK and who beat Josh Warrington in 2021. Wood knows he is facing a strong opponent, a Mexican with strong heart, but he intends to prove again the reason why he is champion despite the difficulty he has in front of him.
He knows how to settle fights and likes to have public opinion against him. The champion thrives on that and passes the tests. He doesn’t want this time to be any different.