It’s finally happening, Nottingham’s 32-year-old, ‘Leighthal’ Leigh Wood, 23-2(13), is finally stepping back into a boxing ring.
The former Midlands Area, Commonwealth and WBO European featherweight champion, who hasn’t fought since losing the latter of those titles for James ‘Jazza’ Dickens in February last year (a global pandemic got in the way), now opposes the unbeaten Doncaster fighter, 26-year-old Reece Mould, 13-0(6) , for the British strap on February 13.
A Matchroom fight card, Wood-Mould is part of the undercard of Josh Warrington v Mauricio Lara, and alongside Zelfa Barrett – Kiko Martinez, a pay-per-view card of the highest order.
Swapping the warm, winter climes of Dubai late last year, Wood is currently based in Harlow, Essex, travelling back to his Nottingham home on weekend’s to spend time with his wife and two, young children.
“Yes, we go for it three weeks Saturday and I’m feeling really good,” Leigh told ‘the Nottingham Sport.’
“I’ve been down here (Harlow) since what, late November, early December; it was somewhat nervy to begin with but all has come good and it’s now ticking all the boxes.”
Aiming to follow in the footsteps of some pretty big names, the British featherweight strap was first contested back in the early 1900s (between Charlie Hardcastle and Alf Wye, in 1917), when fights were played out over an impressive, twenty rounds, Wood, should he see off Mould on the Saturday night, will be walking a path well-trodden by Ryan Walsh (four year reign) and Lee Selby (three years) between 2011 and 2019.
“Granted I’ve got some big boots to step into, but fighting for that British, it’s the traditional route in which to go down,” explained Leigh who, back in 2014, lost to Gavin McDonnell, one of only two losses on his copybook, for the British bantamweight.
“Reece (Mould) however, he’s not got the experience that I have, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be taking my eyes off him, far from it – we both have to go in there and give it our all.
“However, a lot has changed since I challenged for the British back in 2014, and that’s the point Reece is at now, where I was then.”
Now though, not only are things different in Leigh Woods’ world, it’s also somewhat different in the world one lives in on the whole.
With professional boxing motioning under the ‘elite sport’ banner during the ongoing, global pandemic, Wood versus Mould, along with the other fight cards pencilled in on British soil over the comings weeks, are treading very carefully, and being held behind-closed-doors.
That in itself can, and will be, a game-changer.
“This really is going to be a very different experience,” declared Leigh.
“It’ll be like a sparring session, in essence, and we’ll be able to hear everything; our corner men shouting away, hear the opponents heavy breathing, even hear the shots landing on each other.
“So yes, it’s a case of we’re both in the same boat, and it’ll be an interesting contest, that’s for sure.”
‘Leighthal’ Leigh Wood opposes Reece Mould for the vacant British featherweight title, under the Matchroom Boxing/Sky Sports banner, on Saturday 13 February 2021 in what will be a cracking nights boxing; also appearing will be Josh Warrington against Mauricio Lara, Zelfa Barrett versus Kiko Martinez and Dalton Smith takes on Lee Appleyard.
Keep up-to-date with everything ‘Leighthal’ via his own Facebook and Twitter and remember you can get fight build up through Nottingham Sport as we count down the days until Wood steps back in the ring in a bid to take the title.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @itsLeighWood next up for Wood is the vacant BBBofC British title.