Leigh Wood reckons he has watched his seventh-round defeat to Mauricio Lara ‘over 40 times’ and is adamant he knows how to put it right 14 weeks later.
The Gedling man was dropped heavily by a left hook in the seventh of their encounter on February 18 and his coach Ben Davison threw in the towel to end the fight with less than 10 seconds left of the round.
But Lara, who claimed the WBA featherweight title as a result, was contractually obliged to hand Wood a rematch if he chose to seek immediate revenge.
And despite reports Wood may allow Josh Warrington to take on Lara before a shot at the winner, the 34-year-old instead decided to go back for more against the ‘Bronco’ from Mexico City.
“I’ve watched it back over 40 times probably,” Wood said.
“It’s frustrating because I watch the momentum. After the first few rounds he’s expended a lot of energy. He’s had a lot of stoppages in those first few rounds so he was hitting me with everything and really emptying his tank. I had to stay tight.
“But after that the momentum changed and I started having success and sticking to the plan. It’s frustrating to watch that sequence then make a little mistake and get hit with that shot. But I say it with a smile on my face because I know I can put it right.
“My confidence is not dented from what happened - I know what happened and why. I make adjustments every time I win, lose or draw. I come back a better fighter and learn from the things I did wrong. For example I lost the British title in my first attempt but in the second I made sure I didn’t. There is always something new to learn, you’re not done learning in boxing.”
It has been suggested that facing a man who stopped you after such a short amount of time is a huge gamble but Wood believes allowing the belt out of his sight would have been a bigger risk for him.
He said: “There were a lot of options and a few people, especially Eddie Hearn, wanted me to let Warrington fight him and then I fight the winner. It was going to be a fast turnaround but if I hadn’t done this I would have let him fight Warrington, then the belts probably get passed around or there’s a mandatory. There would be too many risks to take.
“I knew what I did wrong and I know what I have to do to put it right. It’s small adjustments that will make a big difference on the night. It doesn’t matter if it was 12 weeks or 12 months down the line, I was taking it because of the belt situation. It can get passed around. I was out for a year before the fight, I didn’t want another year out. It will probably do me the world of good to get straight back in there because he had momentum and I didn’t have that.”
Now Wood must head north for Manchester after losing the belt in his hometown of Nottingham and he anticipates that the numbers inside the Arena may suffer as a result.
He explained: “Eddie was thinking he could persuade me otherwise from taking the rematch but for me it was ‘no way, I want the rematch’.
“I do feel like he has shot himself in the foot a little bit because DAZN wanted that date. He said to me ‘it’s this date or Josh can have it’. That’s fine by me but in the same breath Nottingham Arena and Sheffield were booked that date.
“It’s two and a half hours from Nottingham to Manchester. I’m not sure what the gate will do but it’s irrelevant to me, that’s his side of things. For me the rematch was always going to happen next.
“We looked at it as a team and we knew straight away what to do. It’s almost frustrating watching it back, time and time again, but I’ve spent the majority of time since last September studying Mauricio Lara, what he does and what he’s good at, so I know him inside out. This immediate rematch just makes sense.”
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