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Leigh Wood scores a brutal late finish from Michael Conlan to secure an incredible comeback win

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Leigh Wood retained the WBA featherweight title with a brutal knockout of Michael Conlan (Action Images via Reuters)

Leigh Wood retained the WBA featherweight title on Saturday night in boxing’s most remarkable contest, sending Michael Conlan into the ropes in the final round after jumping off the canvas himself in the first frame.

There was plenty of support for local fighter Wood at the Nottingham Arena, with the champion starting off impressively intermittently throwing spiteful hooks to Conlan’s body, but the fight seemed destined to be short-lived when the challenger dropped Wood at the bell late. of Round 1.

Conlan looked down but blasted an over-the-top left hand to send Wood to the canvas, and the stamina required for the Englishman to get back on his feet and enter Round 2 only developed as he the fight progressed.

Conlan, who sustained a cut due to an accidental clash of heads, rocked Wood with a hard left hook in the second round, leaving the champ in despair.

Olympic bronze medalist Conlan boxed smartly through the next few rounds, choosing his punches wisely with his back against the ropes as Wood found occasional success on the body of his undefeated opponent, but more and more he seemed to be forcing punches and chasing Conlan.

The southpaw Conlan had started the fight on his feet in an orthodox fashion, but would switch from one stance to another, frustrating Wood, who sustained a cut around the eye in a similar manner to his challenger.

Conlan was stunting any momentum Wood could create, but the local boxer continued to march on bravely.

The 33-year-old Wood put together his best spell late in Round 10, somehow recovering from Conlan’s body after taking a flurry of lefts.

The champion then scored an arguable knockdown of his 30-year-old opponent, who he believed had simply slipped, in the 11th frame.

Wood seemed headed for a points loss but fought back to a late knockout (Getty Images)

Wood seemed headed for a points loss but fought back to a late knockout (Getty Images)

Again, the moment came against all odds, as Conlan had put Wood under immense pressure moments before and seemed to be on the brink of it.

The exciting contest came to a head early in the twelfth and final round, when Wood dropped Conlan through the ropes with a ferocious knockout.

The Englishman’s wild celebrations quickly turned to silence as Wood and his trainer Ben Davison urged a chaotic crowd to calm down and allow paramedics to attend to Conlan.

The Irishman was fitted with an oxygen mask and taken out of the arena in an ambulance, with Wood saying: “I hope Michael is okay. I really can’t celebrate yet until I know that Michael is okay. I just can’t get Mick out of my mind.”

Broadcaster DAZN later said that Conlan had been transported to hospital in an ambulance, with Matchroom Boxing CEO Frank Smith clarifying that the Irishman was “conscious and stable”.

The result, which marked Wood’s first defense of his featherweight title, took the local boxer’s record to 26-2 (16 KOs), while Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs) suffered the first loss of his career. professional.

full card results

Leigh Wood (C) right. Michael Conlan (WBA featherweight title)

Caoimhin Agyarko (C) def. Juan Carlos Rubio (WBA International Middleweight Title)

Defeat of Terri Harper. Yamila Belén Abellaneda (vacant WBA Intercontinental women’s lightweight title)

Gary Cully vs. Miguel Vazquez (lightweight)

Erica Anabella Farias def. Sandy Ryan (super lightweight)

right by Thomas Whittaker-Hart. Simon Krebs (light heavyweight)

Defeat of Thomas Carty. Michael Boloz (heavyweight)

Defeat of Nico Leivars. Jose Hernandez (featherweight)

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