Commonwealth featherweight titleholder Leigh Wood returns to action in the JDNXTGEN main event on Friday from his hometown of Nottingham, where he’ll defend his belt against Ryan Doyle, streaming live on DAZN in the United States and airing on Sky Sports in the UK.
Wood, 30, says that fellow Nottingham fighter Carl Froch remains an inspiration for him in boxing.
“He was a role model when I was coming through. He was a real inspiration and he still is. Carl achieved massive things for this city and he’s always been someone that I’ve looked up to throughout my own career,” Wood said.
“We went to the same amateur club, when I was a kid I remember watching him in the gym and he was a machine. He’s from the same little village as me so we’ve got a lot in common. When it comes to our boxing we’re not very similar, we’ve got different styles, but I definitely draw inspiration from him.”
Wood (21-1, 11 KO) is hoping to fill something of a void that Froch’s retirement left behind for fight fans in Nottingham.
“When Froch retired a lot of fight fans had nobody to follow and they’ve been craving someone to support and get behind for a while now,” he said. “There’s a big opportunity for me to take over as the flagbearer for boxing in my city so a big performance on Friday is vital for me. I love boxing in Nottingham and I would have every fight here if I could!”
As for Friday’s fight, Wood sees Doyle (17-3-1, 9 KO) as a solid next test.
“Doyle is big for the weight, he’s got the height and range to cause problems. I think he brings the same thing every time but it’s definitely going to be a hard fight and a good test for me,” Wood said.
“He’s a former (Commonwealth) champion so it’s another step up from my previous opponent who I beat fairly comfortably. There’s a bit of pressure on him because if he loses against me it’ll be two on the bounce and he’ll have to drop down a level. If I’m at my best, which I will be, he won’t get anywhere near me let alone beat me.”