Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images
The Mexican Mauricio “Bronco” Lara became the new WBA featherweight world champion this Saturday by unexpectedly knocking out British Leigh Wood in a stunning finish in Nottingham, England.
“Bronco” Lara, a nearly 25-year-old fighter from Mexico City, was being dominated after six rounds by the defending champion, but as round 7 drew to a close he sent Wood to the canvas in an exchange of hooks left. The Mexican’s blow went straight to the jaw of his opponent.
Wood got up, very wobbly, and when the actions were about to resume with a few seconds remaining in the round, The British corner threw the towel directly into the referee’s hands in the face of Wood’s own disbelief and their fans.
“It’s what we’ve dreamed of since we were 8 years old,” Lara (26-2-1) said in the ring about her first world championship. “I feel very happy to have beaten a great champion.”
Wood (26-2) landed the best shots of the fight and, with the exception of the second round in which Lara roughed him up, he found himself in control of the fight. All three judges had him up on the ballot before the explosive finale.
At times, “Bronco” Lara looked uncertain and very passive in the ring, which the local fighter took advantage of. Yes indeed, when the Mexican dared to throw, he normally connected and hurt Wood. He suffered a cut over his left eyebrow from an accidental headbutt in the first round.
Immediately after Lara’s knockout was declared, there was a mess between him and Josh Warrington, another English boxer with whom the Mexican has fought twice. Warrington later said in an interview with DAZN that Lara spat at him.
The video images show Lara jumping the ropes still above the ring to shout something to Warrington, who was at ringside.. Security elements prevented further chaos.
The fight, broadcast by DAZN, took place at the Motorpoint arena in the city of Nottingham, England, where Wood had the support of his fans. His entry into the ring was with a musical show in the style of Canelo Álvarez. Lara had gone up to the ring with the notes of “Viva México”.
Minutes after the fight ended and already with the spirits under control, Mauricio Lara went to the corner of Leigh Wood and gave him the charro hat with which he had entered the ring.
The Briton said he will exercise the rematch clause in his contract, although Lara said his goal is to complete the trilogy with Warrington, whom he defeated in England in 2021 before a rematch that ended in a draw.
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