Lara: "If He Switches Off,
The Fight Will Be Over Quickly"
Mauricio Lara has warned Leigh Wood that if he switches off
during their WBA Featherweight World Title showdown this
Saturday February 18 at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham,
shown live worldwide on DAZN (excluding Australia and New
Zealand), then “the fight will be over quickly”.
Mexico’s Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs) has waited patiently for his
first World Title shot following his brilliant win over ‘The
Leeds Warrior’ Josh Warrington back in February 2021 – a win
that would have seen him crowned the new IBF 126lbs king if
Warrington had not vacated his title a month prior to their
behind closed doors clash.
‘Bronco’, who is the much younger man of the two aged 24,
believes his 34-year-old opponent has a lot of miles on the
clock following his breath-taking back and forth battle with
Ireland’s Michael Conlan in March last year – the defending
champion hasn’t fought since.
“It was a tough fight – we know that he’s damaged coming
into this fight, but he’s coming to defend his title and
that’s what I want,” said Lara. “I’m grateful to him for
taking this fight. We know nobody wants to face me at 126lbs
for a World Title but this one will happen, and we know what
we are capable of doing.
“We know it’s a big fight. We know it’s the acid test. We
know Leigh Wood is a great champion but I have big
aspirations and a great desire to become World Champion and
as I’ve said, whatever it takes, I have to do it this time.
“We know he’s a great fighter but it’s going to be a really
tough fight for him. We know how we’re preparing, we’ve
caused an upset before in his country and it will be the
same on February 18. Believe me, if he switches off, the
fight will be over quickly. It won’t go beyond the fifth.”
Warrington will be keeping a close eye on Saturday’s X-rated
clash, and has been touted to face the winner, despite
losing his IBF Title to Luis Alberto Lopez last December.
The 32-year-old Yorkshireman has picked Wood to beat Lara,
but the big-hitting knockout artist isn’t bothered in the
“Well, what can someone who got knocked out in 9 rounds have
to say? Who got his jaw fractured, his shoulder and elbow
damaged. Chickens always criticise people but he knows
‘Bronco’ Lara is coming for him and I will destroy him.”
Wood vs. Lara headlines Matchroom's first show of the year
in the UK, Sheffield star Dalton Smith (13-0, 10 KOs) makes
the second defence of his British Super-Lightweight Title
against Billy Allington (10-1-4), Irish Lightweight hope
Gary Cully (15-0, 9 KOs) takes on the USA’s Wilfredo Flores
(10-0-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant WBA Intercontinental Title,
Gravesend Cruiserweight Cheavon Clarke (4-0, 4 KOs) fights
late replacement Israel Duffus (20-8, 17 KOs), former
European Super-Bantamweight Champion Gamal Yafai (19-2, 11
KOs) begins 2023 with a ten-rounder against Argentina’s
Diego Alberto Ruiz (23-6-1, 12 KOs), Northampton’s Kieron
Conway (18-3-1, 4 KOs) meets Portugal’s Jorge Silva (21-7,
12 KOs) over eight rounds at Super-Middleweight, Rotherham
Super-Welterweight talent Junaid Bostan (4-0, 4 KOs) fights
for the third time under the Matchroom banner, popular
Mansfield Super-Bantamweight Nico Leivars (3-0-1) squares
off against Spain’s Alberto Motos (2-0) over six rounds,
Commonwealth Super-Lightweight Champion Sam Maxwell (16-1,
11 KOs) faces Shaun Cooper (13-4) over six rounds and
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Aaron Bowen makes his
professional debut at Middleweight against Mathieu Gomes
(5-4, 5 KOs).