Wood Faces Battle to Keep World Title

Leigh Wood will defend his WBA title against Mauricio Lara next month as the featherweight rivals finally meet after a proposed clash last season.

Leigh Wood

Sometimes a world boxing champion can keep their title for a long period by avoiding the top contenders. That isn’t the case for the WBA Featherweight champion Leigh Wood. He defends his belt against the dangerous Mauricio Lara in Nottingham on February 18. It’s a fight that gamblers in the UK will be eager to place bets on.

Maurico Lara is ranked fourth by the WBO but only 12th by the WBA. That shows you just how crazy world boxing rankings can be. Remember that next time you go online to place a bet on boxing. Also, be aware that in addition to the sporting events covered, sites for gambling online in the UK listed here also include excellent casino sections where everything from roulette to blackjack can be played.

The high position Lara has with the WBO is the best indication of how talented the challenger is. The Mexican hasn’t lost a fight since 2018. Only two of his 28 professional fights have been lost with 25 wins. There’s been one draw and we’ll get to that soon.

Lara’s professional boxing career didn’t get off to the best of starts. His debut ended in a four round split decision points defeat by Julio Carabino in 2015. Betting on Lara was to be a profitable move in the future as he won his next 11 fights but then came a bout against Eliot Chaves in May 2019.

Lara was knocked out in just 50 seconds by a boxer who hasn’t achieved a great deal since. UK fans may remember Chaves as he came over to Newcastle last year to take on the unbeaten Harlem Eubank and was disqualified in the ninth round for twice hitting his opponent after the break.

Such a defeat can be hard to recover from. Can you go to an online betting site in the UK and bet on someone who lost their last fight inside a minute? Lara to his credit though made a good recovery from that big loss.

The Mexican won his next 11 fights and that earned him another trip to England two years ago. He took on Josh Warrington who was a former world champion but looking to secure some big money fights in the US.

Lara showed just how difficult an opponent he can be and defeated Warrington in nine rounds. Warrington hit the canvas twice and betting on Lara to knock Wood down is a good wager to place at a UK online betting site.

Seven months later, Lara was back in the UK for the rematch with Warrington. This time it was in his opponent's hometown of Leeds. It proved to be one of the most unsatisfactory matches seen in a British ring for a long time. Lara sustained a cut over his left eye after an accidental clash of heads. The fight ended in the second round and a technical draw was declared.

The 24-year-old has only had two fights since then and both were won in three rounds. Now he finally gets a world title shot against Leigh Wood.

The pair were due to meet last September but Wood pulled out due to injury. That didn’t please the challenger at all and he claimed that the champion had faked his injury. “Your time has come Leigh Wood, no ‘injury’ can save you now from this,” said Lara after the fight was rescheduled for February 18.

Of course, Leigh Wood isn’t at all pleased about the comments made by Lara. That makes this an even more fascinating fight and one gamblers will love to place wagers on at online sites. “I’m going to show him what I’m all about,” said the champion.

Leigh Wood made his professional debut 12 years ago. His first title opportunity came in 2014 when taking on Gavin McDonell for the vacant British super bantamweight title. Those betting on him to win at UK online betting sites were to be disappointed. The Nottingham fighter lost in the sixth round, the first defeat of his career.

Moving up to the featherweight division, Wood started climbing back up the rankings and in 2019 won the commonwealth title and added the European title later in the year. The European belt was lost four months later but everything changed for him in 2021.

He won the British title and then surprisingly received a WBA title shot against Can Xu. He stopped the champion in the final round to upset the betting odds and become world champion. Wood has only had one fight since then and it was one of the best seen in the UK in 2022.

The champion put his belt on the line against the undefeated Irishman Michael Conlan. Wood was down in the first round but fought back well in the second half of the fight. He was still behind on points but knocked his opponent out in the final round with Conlan collapsing through the ropes.

Now he has this title defence against Lara. Again he’ll be an outsider at betting sites. It promises to be an excellent and potentially dramatic fight.

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