Mauricio Lara has warned Leigh Wood that if he switches off during their WBA Featherweight World Title showdown this Saturday February 18 at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, shown live worldwide on DAZN (excluding Australia and New Zealand), then “the fight will be over quickly”.
Mexico’s Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs) has waited patiently for his first World Title shot following his brilliant win over ‘The Leeds Warrior’ Josh Warrington back in February 2021 – a win that would have seen him crowned the new IBF 126lbs king if Warrington had not vacated his title a month prior to their behind closed doors clash.
‘Bronco’, who is the much younger man of the two aged 24, believes his 34-year-old opponent has a lot of miles on the clock following his breath-taking back and forth battle with Ireland’s Michael Conlan in March last year – the defending champion hasn’t fought since.
“It was a tough fight – we know that he’s damaged coming into this fight, but he’s coming to defend his title and that’s what I want,” said Lara. “I’m grateful to him for taking this fight. We know nobody wants to face me at 126lbs for a World Title but this one will happen, and we know what we are capable of doing.
“We know it’s a big fight. We know it’s the acid test. We know Leigh Wood is a great champion but I have big aspirations and a great desire to become World Champion and as I’ve said, whatever it takes, I have to do it this time.
“We know he’s a great fighter but it’s going to be a really tough fight for him. We know how we’re preparing, we’ve caused an upset before in his country and it will be the same on February 18. Believe me, if he switches off, the fight will be over quickly. It won’t go beyond the fifth.”
Warrington will be keeping a close eye on Saturday’s X-rated clash, and has been touted to face the winner, despite losing his IBF Title to Luis Alberto Lopez last December. The 32-year-old Yorkshireman has picked Wood to beat Lara, but the big-hitting knockout artist isn’t bothered in the slightest.
“Well, what can someone who got knocked out in 9 rounds have to say? Who got his jaw fractured, his shoulder and elbow damaged. Chickens always criticise people but he knows ‘Bronco’ Lara is coming for him and I will destroy him.”
Wood vs. Lara headlines Matchroom’s first show of the year in the UK, Sheffield star Dalton Smith (13-0, 10 KOs) makes the second defence of his British Super-Lightweight Title against Billy Allington (10-1-4), Irish Lightweight hope Gary Cully (15-0, 9 KOs) takes on the USA’s Wilfredo Flores (10-0-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant WBA Intercontinental Title, Gravesend Cruiserweight Cheavon Clarke (4-0, 4 KOs) fights late replacement Israel Duffus (20-8, 17 KOs), former European Super-Bantamweight Champion Gamal Yafai (19-2, 11 KOs) begins 2023 with a ten-rounder against Argentina’s Diego Alberto Ruiz (23-6-1, 12 KOs), Northampton’s Kieron Conway (18-3-1, 4 KOs) meets Portugal’s Jorge Silva (21-7, 12 KOs) over eight rounds at Super-Middleweight, Rotherham Super-Welterweight talent Junaid Bostan (4-0, 4 KOs) fights for the third time under the Matchroom banner, popular Mansfield Super-Bantamweight Nico Leivars (3-0-1) squares off against Spain’s Alberto Motos (2-0) over six rounds, Commonwealth Super-Lightweight Champion Sam Maxwell (16-1, 11 KOs) faces Shaun Cooper (13-4) over six rounds and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Aaron Bowen makes his professional debut at Middleweight against Mathieu Gomes (5-4, 5 KOs).
Limited remaining tickets for Wood vs. Lara can be purchased via Stage Front.