Almost a decade ago, Leigh Wood was set to feature on Nottingham legend, Carl Froch’s world title clash against Lucian Bute in Nottingham.
Issues outside of his control prevented Wood from performing in front of his home fans, but fast forward to March 12 and the 33-year-old has the opportunity to stamp his authority on a thriving featherweight division when he defends his WBA ‘regular’ world title against Michael Conlan at the Motorpoint Arena, live on DAZN, with reports that the fight could be for the ‘super’ title currently held by Leo Santa Cruz.
The 33-year-old knows only a win over the unbeaten Belfast man will put him on the brink of securing a dream fight at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, potentially against the victor of the March 26 IBF featherweight world title bout between Kiko Martinez and Josh Warrington.
“I’ve seen Carl [Froch] do it from turning pro to getting to this point,” Wood told proboxing-fans.com at Wednesday’s first press conference.
“I’ve seen all the things in between. I trained with him at EIS as well for some of the fights. I seen how he reacted before some of the press conferences.
“He used to get quite nervous, you know before the weigh ins, before the fights, so that’s kind of like experience in itself watching how he deals with things and that’s kind of helped me to get to where I am.
“From a young kid I’ve wanted to be on this stage. I’ve wanted to headline my own shows in Nottingham and I want to be the first person to headline the City Ground, so this show at the arena next is vital for me.
“I need to get a win to make that happen.”
Wood has undergone a remarkable turnaround in form since linking-up with trainer Ben Davison, who also coaches undisputed super lightweight champion, Josh Taylor amongst others.
After suffering a majority decision defeat to Jazza Dickens in the MTK Golden Contract semi-final, ‘Leigh-thal’ blasted out Reece Mould in his first fight under Davison’s guidance to win the vacant British title last February, before upsetting Xu Can in August to become WBA ‘regular’ world champion, with a final round stoppage.
Conlan, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, challenges for a maiden world title and is a slight betting favourite heading into the showdown, however Wood is confident he can stop the 30-year-old.
“I’m pretty sure it will [end by stoppage].
“The way we’re approaching the fight, the things that we’re doing, it’s going to get very hard for him in there at times.”
Watch the full interview with Leigh Wood below: