Mauricio Lara loves fighting in England.
And why wouldn’t he? The newly crowned WBA world featherweight champion has recorded the two biggest wins of his career before boisterous British crowds that cheered vociferously for his opponents and makes more money to take transatlantic trips to face English boxers.
Mexico City’s Lara stated during a post-fight interview for Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel after his seventh-round stoppage of Leigh Wood on Saturday night that he will gladly return to England for an immediate rematch with Wood or a third fight against former IBF champ Josh Warrington.
“As I’ve said, it’s almost like my second home here,” Lara said, according to his translator. “And, you know, thank God people applauded me and welcomed me really well. So, no problem.”
It’ll ultimately be up to Wood whether he wants to fight Lara next because the former champion has a rematch clause in his contract. Promoter Eddie Hearn, whose company promotes Wood, Lara and Warrington, proposed the possibility of Lara making his first title defense against Warrington and the winner facing Wood in his following fight.
Lara-Wood II could be next, however, if that’s what Wood wants.
“Right now, I’m tired,” Lara said. “I wanna spend some time with my family. It’s been a really long training camp. And, you know, whatever my manager says, whatever Eddie Hearn says. You know, I’m ready for it. I’ll take anything on.”
Lara’s left hook during an exchange knocked Wood flat on his back with 23 seconds to go in the seventh round. Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) was ahead on the scorecards of judges Oliver Brien (59-55), Howard Foster (58-56) and Guillermo Perez Pineda (58-56) through six rounds, but Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) crudely altered the course of Wood’s career.
Wood wanted to continue once he beat referee Michael Alexander’s count. Ben Davison, Wood’s trainer, threw in the towel, though, which forced Alexander to end their 12-round, 126-pound championship match with six seconds remaining in the seventh round at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England, Wood’s hometown.
The 24-year-old Lara’s life-changing victory occurred two years after he upset Leeds’ Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs) by ninth-round technical knockout in February 2021 at OVO Arena Wembley in London. Their immediate rematch resulted in a technical draw in September 2021 because an accidental clash of heads caused a cut above Lara’s left eye that prematurely halted their 12-round fight in the second round at Headingley Rugby Stadium in Leeds.
“It means a great deal,” Lara said. “You know, it comes from hard work, dedication. I came here with a suitcase of dreams and it means, you know, a great deal. It’s almost like I’ve been carrying a huge weight, a burden, a stone on my back. And this is for Mexico, and this is also for my family and my daughter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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