Leigh Wood did it again, shocking Josh Warrington with a knockout shot at the end of round seven to earn a TKO victory and retain his WBA featherweight title in Sheffield, England.
Nothing had gone right for Wood (28-3, 17 KO) on the night to that point, as Warrington (31-3-1, 8 KO) had probably won all but one round, and was putting the hurt on Wood repeatedly to both the head and body.
Wood, on his side, just did not look comfortable in the fight, as Warrington was beating him in every facet, and frankly, Wood looked like he just didn’t have much snap on his shots or particularly steady legs.
And then it happened.
Late in the seventh round, Wood landed a right hook from the southpaw stance — which he’d employed for much of the bout — that rocked Warrington, and the titleholder followed with two more clean hooks that put Warrington down.
The Leeds challenger did get up, but referee Michael Alexander called the fight off instead of giving Warrington a chance to recover between rounds in the corner, as the bell had gone to end the round, but the referee had to make the decision, and he didn’t see Warrington in a position to continue.
It’s another stunning comeback win for Wood, bringing to mind his incredible, Fight of the Year rally against Michael Conlan in 2022.
“This has got to be up there, I beat a legitimate two-time world champion,” Wood said. “We got the knockout in the end, and I’m one fight away from getting my fairy tale ending.”
“I knew the further the fight, the sloppier he gets, and the more openings I would have,” he said of his approach, while also saying he was disoriented early in the fight from shots that landed to the back of the head. Warrington did have a point taken in round seven for the fouls, though it wouldn’t wind up mattering.
As for that fairy tale ending, Wood said he’d probably be back next summer, and he wants his long-desired fight at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.
Warrington felt he could have continued.
“I switched off for a second,” Warrington said. “He caught me with a good shot, but I felt good. ... I’m a bit disappointed, I feel let down. That’s two losses on the balance, but I don’t feel they’ve done me justice. The stoppage is what it is on record.”
Warrington said he “hopes it ain’t the last one,” but did hint that it could be. He did say he would like a rematch, and that he would like to be the one to face Wood at City Ground.
Wood and promoter Eddie Hearn both said this will be Wood’s final fight at 126 lbs, and that he will get his City Ground bout next year.
Wood vs Warrington highlights
Undercard results and highlights
Terri Harper D-10 Cecilia Braekhus (95-95, 95-95, 97-93)
I don’t think the scoring here is completely horrible, but do think it’s wrong, so frogs had wings and so on. We had it 97-93 for Harper on our unofficial card, could have seen it a round closer, but both did some good work, too, and it became a better fight as it went on.
With the result, Harper retains the WBA 154 lb title, while the also at stake WBO title remains vacant.
“I feel I did just enough to win. I guess it’s my own fault for letting it be that close. I should have stepped up the gears in the later rounds,” Harper said after the bout. “I felt the weight of Cecilia, and it was hard to work up close with her. I tried to keep it long, but she’s awkward and has that long jab and I struggled to land my backhand against her. But thanks to Cecilia for a great fight.”
Asked what she wants to do next, Harper admitted she’s not a “true” 154 lb fighter, but wanted the opportunity to be a world champion, and she will consider moving down to 140 or 147.
Promoter Eddie Hearn described the decision as an “absolute joke,” and compared it to the recent, highly controversial McCaskill vs Ryan draw.
Kieron Conway TKO-6 Linus Udofia (0:02)
Conway (20-3-1, 5 KO) picks up a crucial win here, as Udofia (18-2, 9 KO) had his eye swollen shut after the fifth round. The referee took a look to start round six and decided, fairly, that it simply could not go on.
Hopey Price TKO-12 Connor Coghill (1:29)
Really a good fight, as small hall guy Coghill (14-1, 1 KO) put in a fantastic effort and gave Price (12-0, 5 KO) plenty to think about in the early rounds. But Price showed some mettle here, too, and came around to drop Coghill four times overall, including once late in the 11th and twice in the 12th, getting the stoppage in the British featherweight title eliminator.
WHAT A FINISH!@Hopeyprice1 finishes Connor Coghill in the 12th to defend his WBA Continental Featherweight Title and move a step closer to challenging for the British #PriceCoghill #WoodWarrington pic.twitter.com/i0LKtBUjr7— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) October 7, 2023
Junaid Bostan TKO-6 Corey McCulloch (2:07)
The 21-year-old Bostan (7-0, 6 KO) did the job at hand, and with his bump to the main card, you keep getting the impression Matchroom are higher and higher on the junior middleweight southpaw.