Large underdog Leigh Wooden (25-2, 15 KOs) pulled off an enormous upset on Saturday night time, dethroning WBA secondary featherweight champion Xu Can (18-3, 3 KOs) by a twelfth spherical knockout on the Matchroom Combat Camp in Brentwood, Essex. The struggle was stopped at 2:43 with Xu nonetheless on his ft however wanting harm and crushed.
Wooden, 32, put Xu on the canvas with a giant proper hand within the twelfth. After he obtained up, Wooden unloaded a blizzard of punches that led to the referee Marcus McDonnell pulling the plug on the competition, albeit a bit early/untimely.
It was struggle for Wooden, who used a straight arm tactic to maintain Xu from getting shut sufficient to land. Wooden held his left arm far out in entrance of him and used it as a stick to forestall Xu from getting in vary. Usually, this isn’t allowed, however tonight, the referee McDonnell let Wooden use this tactic, and it labored effectively to maintain Xu from getting shut.
Wooden didn’t want to make use of a stiff arm to win, although as a result of he had an enormous dimension and energy benefit going for him, and that was all he wanted.
All night time lengthy, Wooden was nailing the quicker however weaker Xu with onerous photographs and displaying glorious selection. General, it was a masterclass efficiency from Wooden, who got here into the bout ranked #12 with the World Boxing Affiliation.
Wooden had been crushed a few occasions throughout his profession by Jazza Dickens and Gavin McDonnell, which is why he ranked low. He wasn’t presupposed to win tonight, however he had the proper fighter in entrance of him within the smaller, weaker Xu, and he had an excessive amount of for him.
After the struggle, Wooden mentioned he needed to struggle WBA ‘Tremendous World’ 126-lb champion Leo Santa Cruz subsequent. WBO champion Emmanuel Navarrete was talked about as a risk as effectively.
Navarrete can be a tricky opponent for Wooden as a result of he throws loads of punches, and he’s able to throwing them from any angle.
Oddly sufficient, WBC champ Gary Russell wasn’t talked about. Maybe Russell can be somewhat an excessive amount of for Wooden to chew, as there can be an enormous distinction in expertise and total expertise for him to face him.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn mentioned he doubts Xu Can will need a rematch with Wooden after dropping. Hearn could possibly be fallacious.
This was a voluntary protection for Xu, and it’s onerous to think about him NOT having a rematch clause within the contract. It will be insane to suppose that Xu received’t need to avenge his loss.
Jack Cullen dominates Avni Yildirim
In not an enormous shock, tremendous middleweight Jack Cullen (20-2-1, 9 KOs) beat the struggling former world title challenger Avni Yildirim (21-4, 12 KOs) by a ten spherical unanimous choice that was by no means actually aggressive.
The 29-year-old Yildirim, recent off his third spherical stoppage loss to Canelo Alvarez, was hammered by Cullen, 27, and unable to match his excessive work price.
Cullen simply stayed busy, throwing jabs and loads of punches that saved Yildirim kind firing his personal. Early on, Yildirim was throwing some good physique photographs, however he drained within the second half and was principally plodding ahead, holding and doing little or no.
The judges scored it 100-90, 98-92, 97-93. There have been a few spherical wherein you would argue that Yildirim landed sufficient heavy punches to win them, however that’s about it.
Yildirim’s loss tonight was his third consecutive since 2019. It’s unknown the place he goes from right here.
If Yildirim can’t beat British home degree fighters like Cullen, he has no enterprise combating any of the highest tier guys at 160, which is the place he intends on combating now.
The way in which Yildirim seemed tonight, you’d be onerous put to search out anybody within the prime 15 at middleweight that he can beat.
Clearly, this displays badly on Canelo Alvarez, who insisted on combating Yildirim earlier this yr in the principle occasion on DAZN. It was such a poor struggle. Canelo obtained prime greenback for that mismatch with Yildirim.
Chris Billiam-Smith beats Tommy McCarthy
In cruiserweight motion, Chris Billiam-Smith (13-1, 10 KOs) beat Tommy McCarthy by a 12 spherical break up choice to earn the European, British and Commonwealth straps.
The judges had it 15-114 McCarthy, 115-114, 116-112 Billam-Smith. Boxing 247 scored it for Billiam Smith 116-112.