As incredible as Leigh Wood’s comeback win was Saturday night, his promoter promised that his seventh-round technical knockout of Josh Warrington will mark the end of his memorable, successful run in the featherweight division.
Eddie Hearn announced in the ring following Wood’s remarkable comeback victory that the WBA featherweight champion will move up to the 130-pound division for his next fight. Nottingham’s Wood defended his WBA belt for the first time since the two-time champion won it back by outboxing Mexican veteran Mauricio Lara and winning a unanimous decision May 27 at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
“Featherweight, he’s done,” said Hearn, whose company, Matchroom Boxing, promotes Wood and Warrington. “I think we know that. That’s his last fight at featherweight. Whether it’s moving up to try and become a two-division champion against Joe Cordina, whether it’s Warrington again, wherever it is, he deserves that chance.”
Each of the 5-foot-7 Wood’s past 10 fights have been contested at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds.
The 35-year-old Wood trailed Warrington on all three scorecards when Wood (28-3, 17 KOs) caught his game challenger with a right hook that badly hurt Warrington late in the seventh round at Utilia Arena Sheffield in Sheffield, England. Judges Jean-Robert Leigh (59-55), David Singh (59-55) and Howard Foster (58-56) all had Warrington ahead before Wood’s right hook rocked him and a right-left combination knocked Warrington flat on his back several seconds thereafter.
Leeds’ Warrington (31-3-1, 8 KOs) got up in time to beat referee Michael Alexander’s count, but he turned his back on the action, went back to his corner and gave Alexander little choice but to stop their scheduled 12-round, 126-pound championship match with no time on the clock in the seventh round.
Hearn thought Warrington was well on his way to a dominant win before Wood unloaded the aforementioned right hook that changed the course of a main event DAZN streamed worldwide.
“Leigh dominated the first two rounds,” Hearn said. “I thought Josh Warrington was sensational. I had him well ahead in the fight. I actually said to Tony Bellew before the stoppage, ‘I think Leigh Wood’s done. The weight’s hurting him.’ And it was just a thrilling knockout. Josh was badly hurt. He didn’t turn around.’ And I’ll tell you, this man here is unbelievable. Unbelievable. What he’s done in the featherweight division … it just shows you if you stick at it, anything can happen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.