Posted on 10/07/2023
By: Sean Crose
Give this to Leigh Wood, the man knows how to close the show. After getting off the floor to deliver a knockout of the year candidate when he fought Michael Conlan in 2022, WBA world heavyweight champ Wood came from behind to drop and stop a magnificent Josh Warrington in Sheffield, England on Saturday. Once again, Wood emerged from a tough fight in heroic fashion. “This has got to be up there,” he said afterward. “I beat a legitimate two-time world champion. We got the knockout in the end, and I’m one fight away from getting my fairy tale ending.” That “fairly tail ending” would be a hometown fight in Wood’s native Nottingham.
The 32-1-1 former world titlist Warrington had a strong opening for himself, reaching his man and controlling the tempo of the fight. Sure enough, Warrington appeared to hurt the 28-3 Wood in the second. Switching stances, effective aggressiveness and a solid degree of confidence clearly worked in Warrington’s favor in the first portions of the fight. Sure enough, by the midpoint of the scheduled 12 round affair, Wood appeared to be taking a considerable beating from the challenger. Everything changed suddenly, and dramatically, however, in the seventh.
A viscous series of shots from Wood put Warrington down at the end the round. Warrington was able to beat the count, but the referee opted to stop the fight. It was an extraordinary end to what had up until that point been a rather one sided affair. Promoter Eddie Hearn had a unique take for BBC Radio 5 Live: “Josh switched off for a second and it was goodnight Vienna,” he said. “Josh was desperate to carry on and he was trying to compose himself. He didn’t have his senses to carry on. The ref made the right decision, what a thriller.”