Leigh Wood retained his WBA featherweight world title against all odds with the most dramatic knockout of Michael Conlan’s 12-round comeback in Nottingham.
Making the first defense of the belt he claimed against China’s Xu Can last summer in front of an electric home crowd at Motorpoint Arena, Wood produced another surprising late upset after being second-best for most of a gripping fight and he fell late in the first round courtesy of a big overhand left hand.
Behind on the judges’ scorecards, Wood valiantly fought back to produce his own (discussed) knockdown at the end of the 11th and went all out thereafter, sending Conlan through the ropes with a devastating right hand to somehow keep his title in what promoter Eddie Hearn described as the most dramatic fight he had ever witnessed.
There was concern over Conlan’s condition at ringside, as the fight was immediately called off and he was taken backstage for further treatment, with Matchroom Boxing CEO Frank Smith later confirming that the Belfast favorite was out. conscious and stable after being transported to the hospital.
Hearn added that Conlan was sitting and talking while waiting for the CT scans.
“I hope Michael is okay,” Wood told DAZN after the fight. “I really can’t celebrate until I know he’s okay. Thoughts with him… it’s so hard.”
On Saturday’s undercard, Conlan’s compatriot Caoimhin Agyarko successfully retained his WBA international middleweight title after a unanimous decision victory over Mexico’s Juan Carlos Rubio.
Former super featherweight world champion Terri Harper bounced back from her brutal knockout loss to Alycia Baumgardner with a perfect striking display in her lightweight debut, dominating and firmly outclassing Argentina’s Yamila Belén Abellaneda.
Undefeated Gary Cully stopped veteran former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez in the fifth round, while Sandy Ryan was upset by Erica Farias in a grueling split decision loss in just her fourth pro fight.
Mansfield’s Nico Leivars brushed aside Jose Hernandez in his pro debut, Thomas Carty went 3-0 after Michal Boloz was taken out in the fifth and Thomas Whittaker-Hart stopped Simon Krebs in the opening fight of the night.