On an exciting week of boxing that saw a ton that was supposed to highlight the sports young talent and prospects. It was a 33-year-old veteran who was thought to be simply a domestic level fighter who was more of an opponent than an elite world level fighter that stole the weekend’s headline. At Matchroom Head Quarters in Brentwood, England in the garden of Eddie Hearn, “Lethal” Leigh Wood of Nottinghamshire, UK, shocked many in the boxing world scoring an incredibly dominant, bordering on one-sided 12th round TKO of Can Xu, of Beijing, Chinato runs his record to 25-2 (15), score the second consecutive career-changing victory in a row, as well as take home the WBA featherweight title and our Fighter of the Week award.
Wood, put on a masterclass performance from the opening bell on. The Brit came out firing off a jab slowing down his opponent and not letting him get into a rhythm. Wood matched Xu every step of the way getting the better of exchange after exchange when they clashed on the inside and out classing him from the outside. Sensing he was down on the cards the Chinese fighter tried stepping on the gas in the championships rounds but it was the Nottingham based fighter who again got the better of his opponent. Scoring with a picture perfect hand that dropped Xu like a ton of bricks. A clearly wounded Xu made it to his feet and courageously wanted to fight on. However, like a dog on fear, Wood jumped all over his opponent, ripping of power shots and forcing a stoppage in the final round. Post fight the newly minted champion said “I want to test myself. I said last year that there’s three things I want to do and that’s win the British title, win the world title, and those boxes are ticked. The only thing left to do is to be the first person to headline at the City Ground.”
Leigh Wood was no stranger to entering the ring a noticeable underdog. Most experts picked him to lose his last three fights. However, he has rejuvenated his once fading career in those three fights. A close decision loss to Jazza Dickens and then stoppage victories over Reece Mould and now Can Xu has completely changed the way we view Lethal. Either a rematch with Xu, who has a rematch clause, or scrap with the winner of the Galahad/Dickens fight makes the most sense and seems like a logical next step. However, Wood against any of the premier names at 126 makes a lot of sense, and given how well he performed against Xu it seems possible that he could be more than just competitive with the Gary Russell’s, Emmanuelle Navarrete’s, and Leo Santa Cruz’s of the world.