Nottingham’s Leigh Wood is eyeing a move up to featherweight in the near future, with sights set on winning a British title, but is first looking to put on a dazzling display on July 25 at Derby Arena.
The all-action 26-year-old is considered one of the dangermen of the super-bantamweight division, given his awkward style and heavy hands, but those days, he feels, are soon to be behind him.
“Being down at that weight really took a lot out of me and, to be honest, I think my time as a super-bantamweight is over,” said Wood, 14-1 (7 KOs). “I see my future at featherweight now. I’ll be even more dangerous at that weight, I think.
“Samir Mouneimne and Ryan Walsh are boxing for the British featherweight title and I wouldn’t mind facing either one of them at some point. You’ve also got Josh Warrington, who is just creeping outside of that level and is getting towards the fringes of world-class. I could be hot on his heels within sixteen months, maybe less. It all depends on how fast he moves with his career. But that’s also a fight I’d like to have one day.
“I want a title fight as soon as possible. John Ingle has been talking about getting me one in September or October and that’s why I’d like to get a good six rounds under my belt on July 25. I don’t want to fight someone who just falls over.
“But I’ve been knocking out opponents lately and when it’s time for them to go, it’s time for them to go. Hopefully they can find someone who is tough enough and durable enough to last the distance and it will stand me in good stead for a title shot later this year.”
Wood’s one championship chance so far came last February, when he met Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell for the vacant British super-bantamweight title. Despite a spirited effort, Wood was stopped in six rounds. It stands as the only loss on his career record – it forced him to get better.
“I’ve improved massively since that fight,” he said. “What you learn from a loss is invaluable. You can keep winning all you want, but a lot of the time you aren’t learning anything. You’re not improving. When you lose, you realise exactly what it is you need to improve on.
“Before the McDonnell fight I was a bit power-happy and a bit too eager to get the finish, but now I don’t reveal my cards. I hold something back. I introduce the power slowly and by surprise. I leave something in the bank for when it might be needed later in the fight.
“I’d love a rematch with McDonnell, though. If the fight happened the day after, I’d have known exactly how to beat him. But boxing doesn’t work like that.”
First things first, Wood looks to continue his run of knockout wins on July 25.
“I think I’ll be fighting a lively opponent who is going to test me,” he said. “It won’t be a journeyman or someone I will easily beat. I’ve asked for a test.
“I just want to entertain and stand out from all the other fighters on the card. I want to be exciting to watch, as I always am, and give the fans something a little different to what they see from all the other boxers in the show. I like to be different. I want people to walk away at the end and say, “That Leigh Wood stood out. He was impressive.”
*** Tickets for Blackwell vs. Jones can be purchased from the Derby Arena Box Office on 01332 255800 or by visiting www.derbylive.co.uk ***
*** Blackwell vs. Jones will be televised live on Channel 5 on July 25, while the supporting undercard will be televised live earlier in the evening on Spike ***