Wood vs Conlan, what a fight!
Yesterday, an amazing fight took place for the WBA featherweight championship between Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan. For me, probably the most exciting, all British fight I have ever seen live.
The first round started with Wood immediately taking centre ring and establishing his jab, backing the challenger up and trying to open up with combinations. Conlan seemed to be looking for openings, throwing single shots, mainly jabs and some accurate lefts to the body from a southpaw stance. For me, Wood was winning the round, when just as the bell was about to sound, Conlan landed a huge, long left hook which sent the champion to the canvas, his back hitting the floor as the bell sounded. Referee Steve Gray began his count, Leigh Wood rose to his feet, and returned on unsteady legs to his corner. If the knockdown had been just ten seconds earlier, I believe Conlan would have finished him.
The champion came out for the second round, still groggy from the knockdown just a minute earlier. Conlan couldn’t miss with that long left hook, the same shot he’d floored Wood with, but just didn’t manage to find another one with the same effect. Wood lost the round clearly, but seemed to be taking the shots much better now.
By the third round, the champion seemed to be finding his feet again, was still getting caught with hard single shots, but was putting the challenger under a lot more pressure, and finished the round backing Conlan to the ropes and unleashing a fast combination of punches. I scored round three a draw.
The fourth, was the first round I scored to Leigh Wood. He was digging deep, and finding a way to land his shots, whilst defending better against Conlans attacks, although still seemingly vulnerable to that big left over the top.
In round five, Conlan landed more punches, including some great work to the body, and looked the better boxer, but seemed to be working very hard, in contrast to the early rounds. Leigh Wood, and his corner, may have realised by this point, that he wasn’t going to be able to outbox Michael Conlan, and their best bet was to take the challenger into deep waters. I scored this round to Conlan.
Rounds six to ten were all very competitive. I scored six, eight and ten to wood, nine to Conlan, and seven a draw. The fight had clearly become a battle of attrition by now. Leigh Woods power was having much more effect on Conlan now than it had earlier in the contest.
In round 11, the DAZN commentary felt that Leigh Wood needed to go for the knockout in order to retain his title. The round was quite even, with some quality exchanges taking place. In the closing seconds, right before the bell, the champion missed with a right hook, then jumped in with a straight left, which floored Conlan. The challengers corner were furious, claiming it was caused by a slip…nevertheless, the fight had just become up for grabs. At the end of round 11, two of the official judges had it 104-103 to Conlan, with the other score at 105-102. Tony Bellews unofficial scorecard also read 104-103.
When the final round began, it was immediately clear that Conlan was fast running out of strength. Around 20 seconds into the round, the two boxers fell into a clinch, and Wood pushed Conlan back with such ease, it was apparent that his legs had gone. Conlan had lost all of his sharpness, and with 1:40 remaining, was knocked out cold, through the ropes. It was like the finish in a movie, the perfect ending to a truly epic fight that’ll be remembered for a very long time.
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