WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood has more motivation with some critics tabbing him as the underdog in next month's defense against Mauricio Lara in Nottingham.

Last year, Lara scored a brutal knockout of Josh Warrington.

Wood has a sensational knockout win of his own, when he got off the floor to score a sensational twelfth round knockout of Olympian Michael Conlan.

Wood was the underdog in the fight with Conlan and he was also the underdog in his knockout win of Xu Can.

On February 18, the 34-year-old Wood will make his first defense of the title.

"I prefer being an underdog and I love proving people wrong," Wood said to BBC Sport.

"People tweet me all the time and say, 'this is a mismatch and I'm going to lose' but if you look at my Twitter I retweet them because it fuels me."

"Winning fuels me. Lara has a style that suits me. Conlan was all wrong for me stylistically, but styles make fights and I'm confident in my ability. If I approach this fight wrong, it could be brutal. Lara is good and we saw that in the first fight with Josh Warrington, but if I do as I plan, this fight won't reach halfway - I'm going to get Lara out of there."

Wood and Lara were initially set to collide in September of last year. The fight was postponed when Wood suffered a torn bicep while sparring.

When the fight was pushed back, Lara threw water at the claimed injury.

"He [Lara] said I faked my injury and that annoyed me. Why would I fake my injury?" Wood said.

"I didn't have to fight him; this is a voluntary defence, but I want to test myself and I'm going to show him what I'm all about."