Josh Warrington came away last Saturday night with more respect than ever for Leigh Wood.
Leed’s Warrington and Nottingham’s Wood battled each for the Wood’s WBA featherweight belt at Sheffield Arena in Sheffield. Warrington controlled the majority of the fight until the end of the seventh round, when Wood sent Warrington sailing to the canvas with a torrid combination starting with a right hook.
Warrington managed to get up but he was on wobbly legs, compelling referee Michael Alexander to stop the fight.
There was controversy regarding the stoppage as Warrington, upon getting up, was initially turned away from the referee and facing his corner. Warrington’s handler has vehemently disputed the stoppage.
But for all the grievances he might have about the referee’s judgement, Warrington made it clear in a recent interview that he did not hold any grudge against Wood—on the contrary.
“He threw that shot, it was a beautiful shot, credit to him,” Warrington said of Wood’s knockout blow to Boxing News. “Listen to him. The man’s got massive bollocks. He’s a tough, tough bastard ’cause there were times in that fight when I hit him and obviously I’m close to him there and I can see the frustration in his face. I could see the grimaces when I’m landing certain shots. The uncomfortableness, but he kept on coming. The winces with some of the body shots I was landing on the inside, but he kept on coming. And that’s the heart of a champion. Fair play to him.”
“When I came to the medical room, I was just about to get assessed because I’ve been put on my backside and he comes in and obviously I cut him with a punch and he’s marked. One of the first things he said to me, ‘F— sake, you hurt me so many times in that fight. Obviously he came out on top in the end. There’s nothing but respect there to him and even to his team.”
Warrington (31-3-1, 8 KOs) has called for a rematch but if it happens, it will likely take place at the 130-pound limit, as Wood (28-3, 17 KOs) has made it clear he has outgrown the featherweight ranks.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.