Leigh Wood knows Josh Warrington is beyond battle-tested and extremely tough.
The WBA featherweight champion has watched Warrington take part in entertaining dogfights from ringside seats. Only one opponent, Mexican underdog Mauricio Lara, has knocked out Warrington in the Leeds native’s 34 professional fights.
Stopping the former IBF featherweight champion won’t be easy, not for Wood or anyone else. Wood is also confident, though, that Warrington hasn’t been hit as hard as Wood will hit him Saturday night at Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England.
Nottingham’s Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) explained during a “Face Off” segment available on DAZN and Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel why he believes he can stop Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs) inside the distance.
“I been ringside for his last three fights,” Wood told host Ade Oladipo. “I seen him get hurt. I know he’s tough. I don’t believe that he has been hurt by, hit as hard as [I’ll hit him] and, at the same time, are as calculated as me. So, they might land a few shots, but are they good finishers? Have they got good set-ups? I don’t think they have.
“Like, I think Lara is a big puncher. … Doesn’t know what he needs to do. He’s not a great finisher in the sense like get someone hurt and knows what he needs to do to set it up. He rushes sometimes. But I believe I’m the biggest, one of the biggest punchers in the division. Not only that, I can set it up.”
Three fights after his technical draw with Warrington in their rematch, Lara (26-3-1, 19 KOs) stopped Wood in the seventh round to temporarily take the WBA 126-pound championship from him. Warrington has half as many knockouts in more professional fights than Wood, who outboxed Lara to win their immediate rematch on points, yet the challenger is also certain he can score a knockout in a 12-round, 126-pound title fight DAZN will stream worldwide (7 p.m. BST; 2 p.m. EDT).
“I don’t have as many knockouts on my record as what Leigh does,” Warrington said. “But, then again, most of my knockouts have come at championship level, come in fights where they’ve mattered. Not against f—— someone who’s had 75 losses, three wins, who’s coming for a payday, to survive. I can stop Leigh. You know, he’s been, last two fights he’s had, he’s been put on his backside. And, you know, why can’t I do that?”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.