Leigh Wood was on a really good run in his career, racking up 12 straight wins, nine by stoppage, and winning the Commonwealth featherweight title along the way. Then came his fight in Dec. 2020 against Jazza Dickens in the semifinal of MTK Global’s “Golden Contract” tournament.
Dickens got the better of Wood that night and went on to win the tournament. He now is in line for a vacant IBF featherweight title fight against Kid Galahad, and if you figure that Wood (23-2, 13 KO) likely thinks about how close he was to that opportunity himself, you’re right.
He’s made changes, as he’s now with trainer Ben Davison, and says he’s still learning at age 32. Wood has a fight with Reece Mould (13-0, 6 KO) coming on Feb. 13, live on DAZN and Sky Sports, with the vacant British title on the line.
“New trainer, new place. It was challenging at first but it’s without a doubt the best move I’ve made,” said Wood. “The way I view boxing, my perception of things — I’ve started learning. I’m going in there with a game plan and I know exactly what I’ve got to do.
“When you look back at my previous fights, I spent most of my time dancing around, not using my biggest attribute, which is my power. One of the first things Ben asked me is, ‘Why do you fight like that?’ When I watch back the fight with Jazza Dickens I’m shaking my head! It’s almost cringey, it’s a hard watch when I identify all the things I’ve been working on now. I can’t wait to show the new and improved version of myself.”
The 26-year-old Mould is unbeaten but severely untested, with his best win a June 2019 fourth round stoppage over Sean Davis to claim the vacant English title, which is always just a step on the road toward British and/or Commonwealth title bouts.
Wood doesn’t think Mould will make it the distance.
“We’ve studied Reece Mould, we know his strengths and weaknesses,” Wood said. “He’s a good fighter, you don’t win titles if you’re not. I just think he’s very basic in what he does, he’s not very adaptable, and I think that’s going to be key for me.
“I’m not expecting an easy fight but it’s one I’m very confident of winning. I can’t see him hearing the final bell, I’m on fire at the minute. Everything is coming together at the right time! I’m going to be hitting him with some incredibly big shots that he won’t see coming, it’s going to be a great night for me.”
Matchroom’s Feb. 13 card will be headlined by the return of Josh Warrington, who will face Mauricio Lara, and will also feature junior lightweight Zelfa Barrett taking on veteran Kiko Martinez.