Wood Looking To Silence the Doubters Ahead of his Upcoming Fight Against Michael Conlan
On March 12, Leigh Wood (25-2, 15 KOs) will make the first defense of the WBA ‘regular’ featherweight title against mandatory challenger Michael Conlan. The two will square off in the champion’s hometown of Nottingham, England live on DAZN.
Wood upset Can Xu to win the title in July of 2021. An underdog going in, the 33-year-old put on a stirring performance, dominating Xu throughout before stopping him in the eleventh round. In Conlan, he faces a fighter who has garnered a boatload of attention from the UK boxing press going back to his amateur days.
A former two-time Olympian, Conlan is viewed as the favorite according to the bookies in England. The 30-year-old respects the champ’s power but has expressed nothing but self-assurance that he will walk out of the ring with the title around his waist during various pre-fight interviews.
TALK IS CHEAP
Wood takes it all in stride and is unbothered by the popular challenger from Belfast, Northern Island. He looks at this fight as another opportunity to prove the doubters wrong, going by an interview on the Garibaldi Red Podcast.
“I’m extremely confident . . . All this camp, my mentality is . . . this is his world title fight. He’ll be bang up for it . . . But at the same time, I don’t want to be that kid that’s remembered as won one and lost it straight away. So you know, everything I put into that first camp to win it, I want to go one better in this camp to make sure I keep it.”Leigh Wood
RELISHING THE UNDERDOG ROLE
At times during interviews with local Northern Ireland and English press, you get the sense that Conlan feels that if he simply shows up and does the basics, the fight is a wrap.
In a bit of surprise, Wood says he welcomes the confidence from Conlan. In his mind, the more praise the challenger gets, the better, for this reason.
“I’d rather him be that knight in China. I’d rather him be perceived as that really good fighter with the Olympic medal and world amateur champion because when I beat him, it’s going to taste much better. It’s going to look that much better as well.”Leigh Wood
A ONE-HIT WONDER?
In a quick breakdown, the fight may depend on what we see from Wood. Conlan has the faster feet and hands. But, what neutralizes all that speed? A good jab, a punch that Wood uses rather well.
Against Xu, Wood was terrific in setting the pace, using an arsenal of punches to connect to the head and body. Many would argue that for one night, he fought over his head. Was that win a fluke, or was his performance indicative of someone who is elevating? We will all see on fight night.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.