Mauricio Lara became WBA featherweight world champion as he stunningly stopped Leigh Wood in the seventh round at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Saturday.
Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) was in cruise control for the first six rounds, before Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) landed a huge left hand which dropped him to the canvas and he was pulled out by his corner after getting up to his feet.
Wood won the belt in July 2021, as he halted Xu Can in the last round, and he repeated the trick in his first defence against Michael Conlan. The visitor had made his name with a 2021 stoppage of Josh Warrington, and was noted as a big puncher.
After a technical first round, where the home favourite was cut from a clash of heads, the champion came to life in round two, but he was caught by a big right hand from Lara towards the end of the frame that shook him.
Wood put together a fluent and accurate third, and he landed with some eye-catching right hands in the fourth.
The 34-year-old landed with an effective body shot that got Lara’s attention in the fifth, and ‘Bronco’ was becoming ragged, with Wood first to the punch with regularity.
Almost from nowhere, the pair landed simultaneously, with Lara’s left hand landing right on the money, and it dropped the champion heavily.
It left him on unsteady legs, and as the fight was due to resume, Wood’s trainer Ben Davison threw the towel in to signal the end of the contest.
Wood has a rematch clause and confirmed that he is keen to run it back with the 24-year-old.
Smith sees off Flores to retain British title
Dalton Smith retained his British super lightweight title for a second time, as he enjoyed a landslide points win against former English and Southern Area champion, Billy Allington.
Allington (10-2-4) was down in the eighth from a left hand, and Smith (14-0, 10 KOs) eventually coasted to a win by two scores of 119-108, and a third tally of 120-107, despite suffering a cut above his left eye.
‘Thunder’ is set to meet Commonwealth champion Sam Maxwell on April 29 in Sheffield.
Cully blows away Flores
Gary Cully further enhanced his credentials, as he claimed the vacant WBA Intercontinental lightweight title with a devastating second round stoppage of Wilfredo Flores.
The Irishman floored the American in the second with a left hand, and on the resumption, Cully (16-0, 10 KOs) went for the kill, with the end swiftly coming after a follow-up attack.
After victory over Flores (10-1-1, 5 KOs), ’The Diva’ now moves on to a slot on the big Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano rematch bill on May 20.
Clarke decisions Duffus
Cheavon Clarke went ten rounds for the first time in his career, as he routed Israel Duffus over the distance at cruiserweight.
Clarke (5-4, 4 KOs) hurt Duffus (20-9, 17 KOs) at the end of the fifth, and then scored two knockdowns a round later as the visitor started to fade.
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The Panama native was down again from a right hand in the seventh, and once more from a perfectly timed right hand at the end of the final frame, as the fight went to the cards.
Two scores of 98-88, and a third at 98-90 confirmed Clarke’s dominant win.
Ruiz upsets Yafai
Gamal Yafai was lacklustre, and Diego Alberto Ruiz took full advantage, scoring three knockdowns in a points win over ten at super bantamweight.
Yafai (19-3, 11 KOs) touched down from a left hand in the second round, and was down again in the third, from a chopping right hand as Ruiz (24-6-1, 12 KOs) assumed control.
The early deficit was too much for the Brit to overcome, and the visitor scored another knockdown in the tenth and final round with a short left hook, and eventually ran out the winner by scores of 98-89, 97-91 and 97-90.
Kieron Conway (19-3-1, 4 KOs) got back to winning ways after defeat to Ammo Williams in September, winning all eight rounds against Jorge Silva (21-8, 12 KOs) in their super middleweight contest.
Another man ticking over was Sam Maxwell (17-1, 11 KOs), and the super lightweight won all six rounds against Shaun Cooper (13-5) to set-up a meeting with Dalton Smith.
Aaron Bowen (1-0, 1 KO) thrilled on debut, as the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist took out Matieu Gomes (5-5, 5 KOs) inside a round with a wicked body shot in their super middleweight bout.
Junaid Bostan (5-0, 5 KOs) impressed, stopping Peter Kramer (12-8-3, 8 KOs) in the seventh of a scheduled eight at super welterweight.