The AO Arena in Manchester is the setting this Saturday evening for a world title rematch, as Mauricio Lara defends his WBA featherweight title against Leigh Wood in a repeat of their February thriller.
Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom promote Lara vs Wood and DAZN televise the bill live worldwide.
Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) had remarkably become WBA champion in July 2021, when he halted Can Xu in the final round, and he backed that up by climbing off the canvas to knockout Michael Conlan last March.
The reward for that win was a defence against the dangerous Mexican Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs), a man that came from near obscurity to wreck the unbeaten record of Josh Warrington in February 2021.
‘Bronco’ dismantled the Leeds native in nine rounds, but a rematch proved unsatisfactory, as a technical draw was ruled after two rounds due to a clash of heads.
The 25-year-old resurfaced with two quick wins and then traveled to Nottingham to face Wood.
With the visitor behind on the cards, he found the power to stop the 34-year-old in the seventh round with a brutal left hook.
Despite making it to his feet, trainer Ben Davison saved his man for another day by throwing in the towel. It’s set to be a pulsating clash yet again in Manchester.
Prediction: Wood acquitted himself well until the stoppage in the original meeting, but he will need to be alert and on his mettle from the off in the rematch, in a dangerous assignment. If he can switch on, and eradicate the mistakes from before, he can take a decision win.
Harper meets Habazin
Dublin’s loss is Manchester’s gain on the undercard, as Terri Harper defends her WBA super welterweight title against former world champion, Ivana Habazin (21-4, 7 KOs).
Harper (13-1-1, 6 KOs) was due to defend against Cecilia Braekhus last weekend, but the Norwegian pulled out on the day of the fight due to illness.
Always enjoy fighting in Manchester…. Let’s go 🔥 #HarperHabazin#AndStill https://t.co/oFFq03XWNm
— Terri “Belter” Harper (@TerriHarper96) May 23, 2023
Prediction: Harper should retain on the cards against the Croatian, who has only fought twice in the last three years.
Catterall clashes with Foley
Jack Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) has endured over a year of frustration, having chased a rematch with Josh Taylor after he looked extremely unfortunate to not get the nod last February in Scotland, and he should take his frustrations out on Darragh Foley (22-4-1, 10 KOs), who stopped Robbie Davies Jr in three last time out.
Prediction: Catterall can take a wide points win over ten at super lightweight.
The vacant English welterweight title is at stake, and Danny Ball (12-1-1, 5 KOs) can become new champion with a points win against Jamie Robinson (15-5-2, 4 KOs).
Campbell Hatton (11-0, 4 KOs) takes part in his second scheduled eight rounder, and the super lightweight can bank a points win against Poland’s Michal Bulik (6-2, 2 KOs).
View this post on Instagram
Aqib Fiaz (11-0, 1 KO) is also in eight round action, and he can also come through on the cards at super featherweight against Costin Ion (10-3-2, 5 KOs).
The sole six rounder is at middleweight, where Aaron Bowen (1-0, 1 KO) can stop Aljaz Venko (5-3-2, 2 KOs), and the only four round contest is at super welterweight, and William Crolla, younger brother of former world champion, Anthony Crolla can win on points on his professional debut against Joe Hardy (2-9).