Mauricio Lara can now say that he is a world champion.
After a battle of wits between two hard hitting fighters, a left hook in the 7th round was the difference as Mauricio Lara sent Leigh Wood to the canvas which forced Wood’s trainer to throw in the towel for the fight to be stopped. Lara scored a TKO victory over Wood in Nottingham to become the WBA featherweight champion in front of a crowd heavily supporting their hometown fighter. It was Lara’s 19th knockout victory in his professional career and his first win in a world title match.
“I feel very happy for this championship. It’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was 8 years old,” Lara said.
It was disappointing for Wood to fall short as he was doing well in the fight up to that point. He was leading on all three of the judges scorecards until that moment he was dropped with the left hook with under a minute left in the seventh round. The effect of the punch had him on shaky legs after he got up, and when his trainer Ben Davison threw in the towel to end the match it all came to him that he lost the title he broke down in tears in his corner.
For Lara, he knew that he would have to take a number of shots in order to deliver his. The left hook was the punch that had landed a few times for him over the course of the fight and was the punch that ended up making him a world champion. He gave credit for Wood for giving him a tough fight.
“I definitely felt Leigh’s punches, but they didn’t hurt me. He hits hard and is a good champion.”
After the bout concluded and Wood started to recover from the stoppage loss, he realized what he did that opened him up to the punch that sent him to the canvas. Since he did come into the bout as the champion, he has the option to fight Lara again. He mentioned that he does want another fight with Lara.
“I made a mistake and I paid for it. Absolutely I want the rematch.”
A rematch is one of the options for the new champion from Mexico City, but there is also another fighter in the division that he could face for a third time. The former IBF champion Josh Warrington was in attendance, and Lara has defeated him before and they had another bout that was ended early due to a cut suffered by Lara in the bout. A third bout against Warrington is possible, but Lara knows that he doesn’t control who his next opponent is.
“I want the trilogy fight [with Josh Warrington] and, of course I want more belts,” Lara said. “It’s up to [promoter] Eddie Hearn to make it.”
Cover photo by Mark Robinson of Matchroom Boxing