Leigh Wood dominates Can Xu in upset knockout win
In his latest in-ring effort, Regular WBA World featherweight champion Can “Monster” Xu (18-3, 3 KO’s) suffered a stunning upset. In the biggest fight of his career, Leigh “Leigh-thal” Wood (23-2, 15 KO’s) stepped up and dominated Xu en route to a twelfth round knockout victory. It would have been the Monster’s third defense of his title which he first won over Jesus Rojas on January 26, 2019. The bout against Wood was also Xu’s first prizefight in nearly two full years.
The victory will no doubt catapult Leigh-thal, who was only one bout removed from his latest loss, into a much better position in his career. Even before the recent win, Wood entered the bout ranked #12 (WBA) and #13 (IBF). There is no doubt that he will elevate from those standings. The upset is a bit more impactful due to the bout being moved to the main event. Initially Conor Benn was slated to face Adrian Granados in the feature bout. However, Xu and Wood got bumped into the main slot when Benn withdrew after contracting COVID-19.
AND THE NEW!!
The fight started with a high-paced, competitive nature. Xu and Wood equally attacked the head and body while working behind tight, competent defensive guards. Yet, Wood very well may have stolen the close second period with a nasty right uppercut that yanked the champion’s head back. Leigh-thal would also enjoy the best shots of the third. Once again he pierced Xu’s jaw with the sharp uppercut. This time however, he also cracked the Monster in the head with a number crunching hooks. Little changed in the fourth except now Xu’s nose was regularly bleeding.
As the fight wore on, Wood would lose a bit of velocity on his punches, but he was still pressing the action. He had adopted a pesky punch, jab or uppercut any body part available style of engagement. Wood constantly was jabbing Monster’s arms, face or ribs. Even worse, his trusty head-whipping uppercut never stopped making appearances. Xu was unable to match his accuracy or output.
Just as Xu was looking to possibly mount a late fight rally, Wood dropped him with a tight right hook. The champion made it to his feet but was overwhelmed a short time later. Feeling he was not responding while being bludgeoned on the ropes, referee Marcus McDonnell hopped in to halt the contest. This was an excellent win for Wood on a very big stage.
By: Bakari Simpson