Witness hometown champion Leigh Wood defend his WBA featherweight world title against the unrelenting strength of Mexican fighter Mauricio Lara! Matchroom’s 2023 UK schedule officially kicks off with a show-stopping event that you won’t want to miss, i.e., Leigh Wood vs Mauricio Lara. 

WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood is one half of this much-anticipated matchup. He’s known for having pushed himself to win the title 11 months ago with a spectacular upset knockout over Michael Conlan. In fact, that’s why we refer to it as the “Comeback of the Year”.

Wood now faces a new opponent, the powerful and talented Mexican Mauricio Lara. Lara made a statement two years ago in England with an electrifying performance against then-champion Josh Warrington, ultimately finishing Warrington off in the ninth round of their match at Wembley Arena. 

Don’t miss out on this spectacular matchup between the WBA Featherweight champion and the undefeated rising star! Already touted as a potential candidate of the “Fight of the Year”, for all the right reasons!

Leigh Wood vs Mauricio Lara Date, Time, and Venue

On Saturday, February 18, you can watch the WBA Featherweight title showdown between champion Leigh Wood and rising star Mauricio Lara at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham in Nottingham, England. This 12-round main event will be streamed live on DAZN.

Date: Saturday, February 18

Time: 7 p.m. GMT / 2 p.m. ET

Venue: The fight will take place at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England.

Main event ringwalks (approx): 10:49 p.m. GMT / 5:49 p.m. ET

Leigh Wood vs Mauricio Lara Match Broadcast

DAZN will stream the card live in more than 200 countries worldwide (minus New Zealand and Australia).

What’s on the Line in Wood vs Lara?

On Saturday, February 18, Nottingham’s ‘Leigh-thal’, Leigh Wood, WBA Featherweight champion, will put his title on the line for the second time against undefeated Mexican knockout artist Mauricio Lara.

Leigh Wood vs Mauricio Lara Face-off at the Final Presser

Here is how the final presser went on:

Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara Fight Card

  • Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara, for Wood’s WBA featherweight championship
  • Dalton Smith vs. Billy Allington, for Smith’s British super lightweight title
  • Gary Cully vs. Wilfredo Flores, lightweight
  • Gamal Yafai vs. Diego Alberto Ruiz, super bantamweight
  • Keiron Conway vs. Jorge Silva, super middleweight

Why is Wood vs Lara Such a Big Fight?

Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara were originally slated to fight on September 24 last year. But Wood’s injury forced the postponement of the fight. Wood has since accused Lara of taking their rivalry too far by taunting him about the injury.

However, this hasn’t daunted Wood, who looks forward to showing off his skills on the biggest stage and proving that he can overcome Lara despite his past jibes.

“[Mauricio Lara] claimed I faked my injury; he said all Englishmen are running away from him, and we’re all chickens,” Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) told The Ring. “They’re big statements to make and gives it a little bit of needle and helps me push that little bit harder, when you push out them reps, a little bit harder, a little bit faster. I’ve got the bit between my teeth; he’s made it a little bite more personal.”

“It was only a small tear on my bicep, in sparring, but it needed three weeks of full rest,” he explained. “I tried to persevere, I rested for three or four days. Tried to spar again, it was alright about three rounds and by Round 4, I could feel it, Round 5, 6, I had a dead arm and couldn’t pull my arm up.

“I tried again to rest it for a bit longer but a fight of that magnitude you definitely need two arms, you need the right preparation and I wasn’t going to get it.”

Who is Leigh Wood? 

Leigh Wood, who is The Ring’s No. 6-rated featherweight, knows that Mauricio Lara could be his toughest test yet.

“Possibly, I’m definitely treating him like he is,” admitted Wood. “Styles make fights. Is this the hardest style match up for me? No. But on paper it’s the biggest test. He’s very dangerous, he’s a big puncher, unpredictable.

“His confidence is still high. I think he’ll be coming here with the belief that he can win so it’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Based on their respective styles, Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara are sure to put on an exciting fight that won’t go the distance.

“If you look at our records [then you’d think] it’s not going to go 12 rounds but you never know with fights like this,” he said. “Everyone expects a knockout and it doesn’t come, sometimes everyone expects a points decision and a knockout comes. You have to prepare for the 12-rounds but I can’t see it going 12.”

Eddie Hearn Praises Leigh Wood

At 34 years old, Leigh Wood of Nottingham could have easily chosen a lesser opponent when looking for an alternative to Mauricio Lara. But instead, he chose to challenge himself and take on the toughest fight that he could find.

“I’ve probably got three or four fights left in the sport and I want them to be big fights,” he said. “I want them to be testing fights and challenge myself.”

It’s traits like these in Wood that encourage even people like Eddie Hearn to praise him. 


Leigh Wood Record and Bio

  • Nationality: British
  • Born: August 1, 1988
  • Height: 5-7
  • Reach: 67
  • Total fights: 28
  • Record: 26-2 (16 KOs)

With a slow build, Leigh Wood’s career gained true momentum when he captured the vacant British title against Reece Mould in February 2021. Now, he will look to carry that momentum into his fight with Mauricio Lara and solidify himself as one of today’s top contenders.

It was ironic that Leigh Wood’s capture of the vacant British title came on the undercard of Mauricio Lara’s coming-out party when he stunned Josh Warrington with a TKO in the 9th round.

Leigh Wood had an insider’s perspective of what Mauricio Lara was capable of when he witnessed his stunning upset over Josh Warrington and was ringside for the rematch. Armed with this knowledge, the defending titlist carries great confidence into the fight and is sure to put on an amazing performance.

“He’s very good at countering certain shots. He punches very hard,” he explained. “But if you starve him of success, he’ll get reckless and force it.

“There’s many weaknesses, sometimes with fighters their biggest asset is their biggest weakness and that’s probably the case with Mauricio Lara. He punches very hard but at what cost? He gases himself out looking for the big shots that sometimes aren’t there. His feet sometimes aren’t set to throw but he’ll still throw. There are few more vulnerabilities that I’m going to explore that I don’t want to say.”

Wood’s Home Crowd Advantage

Leigh Wood will have the full backing of a raucous crowd to cheer him on and urge him toward victory. This is sure to give the defending titlist an extra edge in this highly anticipated clash.

“I’ve got a massive fan base in Nottingham, a lot of it is Nottingham Forest [Football club], I’ve been going since I was very young,” he said. “To make sure [the fans] reap the benefits my career and where I’ve got to enjoy of those big nights is important.

“I was at Carl Froch fights when he started filling out the arena and to now go do it myself and keep the boxing buzz alive in the city and keep churning out champions it inspires the next generation. That’s probably one of the most important things about these nights.”

Who is Mauricio Lara?

Mauricio Lara is no stranger to creating magic in the ring and showed that with his stunning upset over Josh Warrington back in February 2021. As the No. 4 ranked fighter by The Ring, Lara is sure to bring great technique and power into this match, setting up an exciting showdown between two of the division’s best.

Mauricio Lara may have had a career-defining moment over Josh Warrington. But without a world title at stake, his hunger for championship glory remains undimmed. Now he has the chance to make that dream come true when he faces Leigh Wood.

Mauricio Lara Record and Bio

  • Nationality: Mexican
  • Born: February 23, 1998
  • Height: 5-7
  • Reach: N/A
  • Total fights: 28

Record: 25-2-1 (18 KOs)

“We know Leigh Wood is a great champion, but I have big aspirations and a great desire to become world champion,” said Lara. “Whatever it takes, I have to do it this time. I like challenges to take big fights and this is one of them.

“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’re capable of doing.”

Mauricio Flaunts His Power in an Open Workout

Mauricio Lara displayed his power and skill at an open workout on Wednesday, with shots that had the force of a middleweight behind them.

What Makes Wood vs Lara A Potential Fight of the Year?

This is the type of fight that has boxing fans on the edge of their seats. An epic collision between Mauricio Lara and Leigh Wood, with all the blood, guts, and drama that makes it a potential fight of the year! Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara have had to work hard to get where they are – an inspiring story that resonates with the public.

Just three years ago, Leigh Wood was on the brink of giving up the sport after losing the Golden Contract Tournament against Jazza Dickens. But now, he will face Mauricio Lara for the WBA Featherweight Championship.

Leigh Wood’s journey from struggle to triumph has been a remarkable one. In 2022 he fought and won the much-anticipated bout against Michael Conlan, who was favored to win. Wood didn’t give up despite getting knocked down in the first round and losing on points. An explosive right hand in the final round sent Conlan through the ropes and earned him a stunning victory!

Mauricio Lara has had an eventful journey in the world of boxing. Starting his professional career at just 16, he experienced an early loss and was knocked out in round one of his 13th fight. But Lara’s grit and determination paid off. He quickly proved himself a force to be reckoned with when he defeated Josh Warrington in 2021.

Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara are incredible fighters who have achieved remarkable success against the odds. Despite being written off by many and experiencing bitter defeats early in their careers, they never gave up – and that spirit is what defines them.

Will Wood Succeed in Defending the Title?

While the Mexican fighter is known for his combative style, Wood is a more measured tactician who controls the distance from the outside with jabs and probes.

Mauricio Lara is a risk-taker with an unyielding spirit. He’s not afraid to take calculated risks, often attacking straight inside and lunging with looping shots. Even though he’s willing to take risks, he also knows when to pull back. 

Leigh Wood must keep his guard up and be mindful of Mauricio Lara’s defensive skills. Lara’s boxing ability is visible and noticeable, from sharp countering techniques to powerful punch variations.

On the other hand, Mauricio Lara tends to come out on top when his opponent is forced to stay in one area for an extended period of time or when they attempt to press forward.

Leigh Wood must also remember to keep the fight in the center of the ring rather than in a tight phone booth corner or against the ropes if he wants to have any chance of succeeding and winning.

Mauricio Lara often uses upper-body movement, such as bending his waist. However, his defense against jabs is not something that should be relied on. Will Wood find a way to exploit this weakness?

If Leigh Wood is able to execute his plan correctly, he could expose the weakness in Lara’s defense. Doing so would bring control to Lara’s aggression and disarm his explosive offense.

Will Wood be the one standing tall this Saturday? Well, despite all predictions, projections, and analysis, only time will tell. And as soon as this happens, RDX Sports won’t take long to cover it for you! 



Leave A Reply

Exit mobile version
Skip to content