Last Saturday, at the Nottingham Arena, home fighter Leigh wood made his first defense of the WBA Featherweight title he’d won last year against former Irish amateur superstar Michael Conlan, in what would become one of the best fights of the last decade.
The fight started with an abrupt jolt to the system, when Conlan, not known for his punching prowess, heavily floored Wood in the closing seconds of the 1st round with a looping back hand. For the following 3 rounds, Wood appeared to be nearly out on his feet, unable to move with purpose and regularly at the end of vicious shots from Conlan. At this point, Woods home fanbase were expecting the worst, that at any moment another big shot could finish the newly crowned champion.
As the fight wore on, Wood managed to come back to senses and started pressing the slick challenger with barrages of punches against the ropes, despite growing success, Conlan was able to finish most of the exchanges on the front foot with the cleaner shots. In the later rounds, both men opened up, trading more heavy blows, despite showing signs of fatigue.
In the 11th, Wood scored a knockdown from a clipping shot that saw Conlan stumble to the canvas, the Irish fighter was able to regain his footing quickly and did not appear to be badly buzzed. As the fight entered the final round, with Wood widely down on the scorecards and set to lose his title, the Nottingham man put it all on the line, relentlessly pursuing Conlan until a combination followed by a sharp right hand knocked Conlan unconscious and out of the ring.
As panic ensued at the fate of Conlan, who remained unconscious outside the ring for a long time, Wood refused to celebrate and attempted to keep the crowd at bay until Conlans condition had improved. After being taken to hospital, Conlan regained consciousness and is in good health, now demanding a rematch which all fans of the sport are eager to see.