An electric Nottingham stood to a fight of the year contender as ‘Leighthal’ Leigh Wood won an amazing contest to keep his WBA Featherweight Belt at the hands of an incredibly talented challenger Michael Conlon.
A big left hook late in the first round saw Wood surprisingly down on the canvas with a standing eight count and it wasn’t until the first three rounds were over did we see the champion come forward and really hurt Conlon.
Swinging away legs unsteady it looked like Wood was clinging on just to stay in the fight but Conlon made mistakes in two and three and got too involved after the knockdown which made for a real scrap as the Irishman went for an early finish.
The Nottingham boxer hanging on with his life and title on the line soon cleared his head but the challenger looked assured until Wood rocked his opponent with a flurry in round five.
A cut to Wood from a clash of heads hampered his own progress but a couple of well balanced well fought rounds brought a standing ovation from the supporters inside the arena, round eight in particular a classic as both boxers traded blows.
Conlon frustrated Wood in nine before another clash of heads in ten but the champion landed a cracking shot to knock down the challenger in eleven and score his own 10-8 with a round to play.
The final round still looked like it needed a knockdown from Wood to assure him of victory and the man in front of his own crowd soon delivered in emphatic style.
A huge right hand knocking the challenger flat down and out of the ring to the cheers and celebrations of the huge home support.
A massive statement from Wood against an opponent that will surely have his time too one day, but the heart of a lion shown by a boxer that just doesn’t give up, proving with his stamina and substance he always has a chance, and in the end Wood’s stronghold on the later rounds being huge in helping him to eventually deliver the knockout blow.
World class boxing at times from both fighters with Wood now having huge carrots dangling in front of him, the winner of Josh Warrington and Kiko Martinez next perhaps on the cards with that City Ground location a real possibility for a Nottingham Forest fan who’s day went from good (with Forest also winning earlier) to great (after retaining his belt with a huge stoppage).
Unbeaten American boxer Ryan Garcia stating “That was one of the greatest fights i ever seen” whilst Carl Frampton echoed Garcia’s statement, also saying “The best fight I’ve ever seen. Praying that Conlon is ok”.
Words within the industry to suggest this fight, might be one of the greatest ever to be produced in Britain at least. What next for Wood? The world awaits Nottingham’s newest favourite boxing son.
*Main image @DAZNBoxing Wood lands on Conlon in an amazing nights boxing.