Discipline was the name of the game for Leigh Wood, as he outboxed Mauricio Lara in their rematch.
In their first fight, Lara KO’d Wood in stunning fashion, but this time the Brit turned the result on its head to get revenge with an unanimous decision win just 98 days after the loss.
It was a tentative start from Wood in round one, as he refused to engage, clearly with a heightened sense of awareness of Lara’s devastating power from the first fight.
Wood was buzzed early in round two, but fortunately for the Brit, Lara lost his footing and tripped over meaning he could not capitalise on the shot.
But, Wood recovered well and even dropped Lara with a short right uppercut of his own that made the home crowd let out a huge roar.
The Brit maintained his discipline and patience over the next few rounds, jabbing well and using his feet to get out of trouble, although a cut opened up by his left eye, similarly to how it did in the first fight.
By the halfway point of the fight, Lara began showing some frustration, throwing out wild punches to little success.
As they entered the second half, it was clear that Lara was beginning to fall behind on the scorecards, but he refused to up the pace.
“Discipline, discipline, we’re well on our way,” were the wise words of Wood’s trainer Ben Davison in the corner, as the man from Nottingham came out for round ten.
By the start of the championship rounds, Wood had already taken Lara to a point he had never been to in his career previously and it showed, as he looked flat and fatigued.
The final round went the same way as the 11 before it, with Lara not providing much of a threat, while Wood boxed excellently, picking his shots and not putting a foot wrong defensively.
After the result was made official, Wood said in his post-fight interview: “What a feeling, I’ve had a fairy-tale career and I’ve just given it a f***ing happy ending.
“I wasn’t losing no matter what, Mauricio Lara is a great fighter, but I have a great team… this is what I’m here for hard fights, I may get beat, but I’ll come back and beat them.”
Wood also called for a unification bout with IBF champion Luis Alberto Lopez, who KO’d Michael Conlan earlier in the night in Belfast.