Trainer Ben Davison believes his charge, Leigh Wood, was hampered early on in his dramatic tussle with Josh Warrington by an illegal shot to the back of the head.
Last Saturday night at Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England, champion Wood rallied from behind points to stop Warrington in the seventh round of their WBA featherweight title bout.
The win is another example of the “flair for the dramatic” that Wood has exhibited in the ring in recent years. Last year, Wood knocked out Michael Conlan in the 12th round in a fight that Wood was losing on points.
Davison suggested Wood (28-3, 17 KOs) was put in the unenviable position of having to rally from a deficit after Warrington, he claimed, landed a rabbit punch early on in the fight that left Wood debilitated. An aggressive pressure fighter, Warrington (31-3-1, 8 KOs) has been criticized in the past for throwing rabbit punches, elbows, and headbutts. Indeed, during the fight with Wood, referee Michael Alexander docked a point from Warrington for punching behind the head during the pivotal seventh round.
“It wasn’t a great performance was it?” Davison said of Wood in an interview with iFL TV immediately after the fight. “But he has got that game changer. I’ve said it for such a long time he is by far the hardest puncher in the division and he has that in the locker. We do not want to go about it in that fashion. But Leigh got hit in the back of the head quite early on in the fight and I think he really struggled to recover from that.
“He actually came back to the corner and mentioned it. I was quite vocal about that, about the shots behind the back of the head.
“I really despise that in boxing and think it’s where damage gets done. He found it really hard to recover from that. But like I said it was important that—Josh likes to let his hands go. We knew that if Leigh was brave enough to go with him it was a risk, but it was one that was potential fire in the moment. That’s what happened.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.