In a fight that felt straight out of a movie, Leigh Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) successfully defended his WBA “regular” featherweight world title over Ireland’s Michael Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs) in what will surely double as both a Fight of the Year and KO of the Year contender.
It looked like Conlan would waltz into enemy territory and take the title away from Wood, as he flattened the Englishman with a crushing left hand in the opening round just as the bell sounded. Astonishingly, Wood beat the count but it took him until the third round to really recover.
Conlan seemed to be getting the better of Wood for much of the contest but Wood had his moments and there were some tense exchanges in the ring. Surely needing a KO in the championship round, Wood scored an 11th round knockdown that Conlan’s corner insisted was a slip and technically was, but Wood also landed a punch at the same time so the knockdown call was correct.
In the final round, Wood was the aggressor and got Conlan up against the ropes. This was his moment to seize a win that looked so unlikely at the start of the contest. A straight right to the temple froze Conlan up, caused him to slump over and ultimately out of the ring altogether. The Nottingham crowd was in raptures as the fight was waved off, but Wood tried to calm the fans as medics attended to an unconscious Conlan on the floor.
Watch the highlights below:
At the time of the stoppage, Wood was trailing on all three scorecards but two of them were by just one point, so even a 10-8 round would’ve been enough. The comeback really began off the 11th round knockdown, but he was none the wiser as to what he needed to do to defend his title.
There was great concern obviously for the well being on Conlan, as he was taken out of the arena on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital. It looks as if as nasty as that KO and fall was, Conlan is alert and in stable condition according to Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn and Michael Conlan.
Michael Conlan arrived at hospital, conscious and stable— Frank Smith (@FrankSmith) March 13, 2022
UPDATE: Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Michael Conlan is awake and stable— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 13, 2022
Props to both men for an incredible fight with an unforgettable ending.
UPDATE: Conlan has tweeted!
Im all good folks, cheers for the messages. Ill be back, good shot and congrats to Leigh and his team.— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) March 13, 2022
Definitely want a rematch lol— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) March 13, 2022