With the City Ground out of the running, a rematch between Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington has been placed on hold for the foreseeable future.

The news was disappointing for all involved.

Wood had been denied the chance to fulfil a lifelong ambition and box at the home of his beloved Nottingham Forest, Matchroom had lost one of the crown jewels of their 2024 schedule and the fans had been denied the chance to see a runback of one of the best fights of last year.

The man who has arguably lost more than anybody, however, received precious little sympathy. Not many people seemed to pay much mind to the crucial time that two-time IBF featherweight champion Warrington has lost waiting for the drawn-out saga to play out. 

The desire for revenge still burns deep inside Warrington but – at 33-years-old – he can’t afford to put his own career on hold while he waits for somebody else’s dream to become reality. 

“We’re disappointed that things dragged on for so long, only to be told that the fight at the City Ground isn’t happening,” Warrington’s manager, Steve Wood, told boxingscene.com

“Obviously we’re still open to the fight with Wood – Josh badly wants to set the record straight – but the fight was four months ago now and we need some news quickly. Josh wants to fight, so we’re also currently looking for other opportunities.”

Last October, Wood (28-3, 17 KOs) and Warrington (31-3-1, 8KOs) went to war for the WBA super featherweight title. 

After dominating the first six rounds of the fight, things went wrong for the man from Leeds in the seventh. Harshly deducted a point for punching behind the head earlier in the session, Warrington attempted to swing the momentum back in his favour and launched a final attack as the 10-second warning sounded.

He walked directly into a flush right hook which stiffened his legs. Wood’s follow up was accurate and spectacular and Warrington hit the canvas as the bell sounded. He got to his feet, tottered back to his corner, steadied himself against the ropes and turned around at the count of eight, only to see referee Michael Alexander waving the fight off. It was a controversial ending to an exciting fight and all roads appeared to lead towards a massive outdoor summer rematch at the famous old stadium.

May 18 looked to be the likely date but after issues with finalising the City Ground, plans were put on hold.

Following a vicious 2023, which also included a pair of fights with Mauricio Lara – Wood was stopped by the Mexican in February before regaining his title three months later with a beautiful display of boxing – the 35-year-old took a well-deserved break.

He vacated the WBA featherweight belt and stated that he will now campaign at 130lbs. The City Ground news will obviously be of major disappointment to the champion but he isn’t short of lucrative options and can revisit the idea of fighting at the stadium next year.

Warrington has spent that time waiting. Waiting to find out if he would be the hand-picked opponent. Waiting for revenge. Waiting for a date. Now he is waiting to find out what happens next.